CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao—Marines and Army Special Forces pursuing outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday captured the lawless elements’ bomb-making camp in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
The camp with improvised bomb-making ingredients were found in Barangay Andavit, a remote village under influence by the BIFF in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
The discovery of the bomb-making facility came a day after about 20 BIFF attacked on Monday night Marines and soldiers stationed in the village as perimeter security of the P58-million worth flood control project in the area.
That BIFF harassment left a Marine private killed and a Marine lieutenant wounded. At least six BIFF members were also believed killed in the hour-long skirmishes.
The camp has been abandoned, according to an Army officer who refused to be named. “We found bomb-making devices, mortar rounds, black powder and ammonium nitrate, cut nails and plain metal sheets used as shrapnel and electrical wiring,” he said.
Since the fighting began last Feb. 5, the BIFF have set off more than 50 IEDs in the adjoining towns of Datu Salibo, Shariff Aguak, and Datu Saudi Ampatuan targeting soldiers and even civilians traversing the national highway in Maguindanao.
Capt. Joann Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the military will continue clearing operations in the affected communities before it will give green light to displaced families.
“As long as the areas are not cleared of IEDs planted by fleeing BIFF, we will not recommend the return of evacuees,” she told reporters.
To date, five soldiers have been killed and more than 30 others injured, mostly by IEDs set off by the BIFF.
At least 3,000 families or about 7,000 people are still in evacuation sites in Maguindanao’s three towns.