Many residents of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao have returned to their homes after fleeing on Saturday due to clashes between the military and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
But according to Olhamier Saguia, one of the returning residents, some still do not return home due to fear.
“Doon sila pumunta sa kamag-anak nila. Para okay ‘yong pagtulog nila. Tapos ‘yong iba nasa eskwelahan pumunta. ‘Yong mga walang mapuntahan, nasa malapit lang,” said Saguia.
“Takot pa rin kasi nga siyempre ‘yong kahapon, malay mo bumalik at mangyari ulit ‘yon,” he added.
According to the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, about 20 BIFF members clashed with soldiers on Saturday in the town.
No soldier was killed in the encounter.
Some houses in the town were damaged after being hit by bullets and bombs, said Vice Mayor Mohammad Paglas.
Datu Paglas residents return home after BIFF vs military encounter
According to Paglas, there is a plan to provide assistance to those whose houses were damaged or to replace the damaged parts.
According to Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, spokesman of the 6th Infantry Division, the video spreading on social media was the video of the encounter on May 6 in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao, where they clashed with the BIFF.
He said a soldier was killed in the encounter.
“Actually kinasuhan na ng Army ‘yong sundalo na nagpakalat ng video. Unfair din kasi sa family ng natamaan na tropa,” said Baldomar.
The military, on the other hand, ensured that they were in control of the situation and that the BIFF force was weak. The pursuit of the group also continues.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), also known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, is an Islamist militant organization based in Mindanao, the Philippines. It is a smaller player in the overall Moro insurgency in the Philippines and is mostly active in Maguindanao and other places in central Mindanao.
It is a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front founded by Ameril Umbra Kato. Following Kato’s death, the group split into three factions, one of which has aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while the other two are less radical.