Army officer dead in gunfight with BIFF in Maguindanao

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — A junior officer of the 40th Infantry Battalion conducting a clearing operation in a remote village of Mamasapano on Thursday was killed in an ensuing firefight with a militant Moro group linked to the Islamic State, a senior military official said.

Captain Arvin Encinas, spokesperson for the Army’s 6th Division, said he could not yet disclose the identity of the slain soldier as they still had to inform the family.

He told the Inquirer the junior officer was among the soldiers conducting a clearing operation in the village when they ran into members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Encinas said a separate fighting erupted around 7 a.m. in the village of Dapiawan in the nearby town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, also in Maguindanao province, though there was no reported casualty from either side.

The military assaults against BIFF guerrillas began during the weekend, supposedly targeting BIFF leader Abu Turaipe, whose faction had pledged allegiance to the IS.

But Turaipe was believed to have escaped again.

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