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Top BIFF aide killed in clash

COTABATO CITY – A senior commander of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed while four other rebels and seven soldiers were injured as clashes continue Sunday in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

No less than the spokesman of the BIFF Abi Misri confirmed through a radio interview the death of Khalid, said to be a nephew of Ismael Abubakar who is acknowledged as the chairman of one of three factions of the BIFF.

Abubakar’s group is said to be loyal to the dreaded Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Khalid died after he and his cohorts fought it out with the Philippine Army’s 57th Infantry Batallion who were pursuing suspects in the twin roadside bombs in Maguindanao.

Local officials said two of the four wounded BIFF bandits were hit in the lower torso by Army snipers while two other rebels sustained shrapnel wounds when a mortar projectile landed near them.

Seven members of the Army’s 57th IB were wounded when BIFF gunmen fired assault rifles and shoulder-mounted B-40s on a roadside detachment in Barangay Pagatin in Datu Salibo.

Captain Arvin Encinas, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the injured soldiers underwent medical treatments in a military hospital.

Encinas said the military’s continuing law enforcement operations in Salibo and neighboring towns were meant for Abubakar, the radical figurehead of one of three groups in the BIFF. (ALI G. MACABALANG)