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BIFF rebels being trained by Jemaah Islamiyah –military


Local rebels from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are being trained by members of regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a military official confirmed on Thursday.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Mindanao-based 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the military had already "established" that there is an "alliance" between the JI and the BIFF, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"It [JI] is providing training on bomb-making and laying," Hermoso told reporters, adding the military is also verifying if the JI is funding the BIFF.

The JI is a Southeast Asian terrorist group being blamed for deadly attacks mostly in Indonesia.

Just last February, Hermoso dismissed as "speculation" the supposed links between the BIFF and the JI.

On Wednesday, JI bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman was reportedly wounded during a raid by security forces in Maguindanao. Two of Usman's relatives were reported killed in the incident.

Hermoso further said that improvised explosive devices recovered by government troops from the BIFF during past operations may have been made by Usman.

In 2011, the Philippine government confirmed ties between the JI and the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which is being blamed for bombing and kidnapping incidents in Mindanao. –Andreo Calonzo/KBK, GMA News
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