MANILA: A high-ranking leader of the militant Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was arrested and his escort was killed in a law enforcement operation in southern Philippine city of Cotabato late on Tuesday, China's Xinhua news agency reported military as saying on Wednesday.
Hassan Indal, alias Abu Hazam, BIFF vice chairman for internal affairs and commander of the group's 4th Division, was collared in Kalanganan village by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City, said Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of Army's 6th Infantry Division.
He said it was believed that Indal was hiding in Cotabato in order to avoid the ongoing skirmishes between the BIFF and the military forces who are conducting security operations on a dredging project in Butilen River in Datu Salibu, Maguindanao.
The skirmishes had been happening for five days now and which might have opted Indal to hide in Cotabato City, he added.
Also killed during the arrest was Ali Indal, who resisted the arrest and fired at the operating joint elements causing the latter to fire back. He is identified to be the son of the BIFF Commander and is also believed to be highly indoctrinated to follow his footsteps.
Recovered during the operation were one M653 rifle, chamber loaded and with short magazine loaded with 10 live pieces ammunition, one caliber .45 chamber-loaded and with two magazines loaded with 14 live pieces of ammunition, and one fragmentation grenade.
The BIFF formed in late 2010 is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim rebel group in the country, engaged in the peace process with the Philippine government. - Bernama
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