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11 local IS gunmen in Maguindanao yield to Army

11 local IS gunmen in Maguindanao yield to Army

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — The Army command in Maguindanao province expects to see more local gunmen returning to the fold of the law after 11 members of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yielded on Tuesday (July 27).

According to Col. Pedro Balisi, commander of the Army’s First Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the continued surgical offensives by government troops have put pressure on the BIFF gunmen, forcing them to surrender.

Balisi said the recent surrenders led to the turnover into the Army of 13 weapons and ammunition. The BIFF gunmen belonged to two groups, operating in various towns of Maguindanao.

One group consisting of four gunmen turned themselves in to Lt. Col. Cresencio Sanchez, of the First Mechanized Battalion, in the presence of Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan.

Sanchez said the four were identified with the BIFF faction led by Commander Bungos that operates in the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Mamasapano, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

They brought with them a caliber .50 machine gun and five rifles, including a homemade 7.62 mm Barrett sniper rifle.

Another group of seven gunmen surrendered to the Army’s Second Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Datu Anggal Midtimbang town, turning over two M14 rifles, one M16 rifle, one homemade caliber .50 Barrett sniper rifle, a Garand rifle, an M79 grenade launcher, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and ammunition.

Last week, Army soldiers in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town seized a cache of high-powered firearms loaded in a tractor-drawn cart, locally known as kuliglig, driven by a 13-year-old boy.

Sanchez said they suspected that the boy was instructed by lawless men to try to smuggle the weapons into their hideouts. Sanchez recalled that the boy was restless when asked about his load, which were covered by empty sacks, although the protruding butt of one gun did not escape notice by some soldiers.

When the sacks were removed, the soldiers found one M16 Bushmaster rifle, one M16 Armalite rifle, 38 barrels of M16 rifle, six M14 backplates, two M16 butt plates, assorted parts of M14 and M16 rifles, a welding machine, and three metal clamps.

The soldiers turned over the minor to the local police station for further investigation.