Gov’t forces assault BIFF lair in Maguindanao, seizes firearms factory

Published May 30, 2018, 2:58 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Francis Wakefield

Combined elements of the Army and police commandos seized a terrorist firearms factory after storming the notorious lair of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Harold M. Cabunoc, the Commanding Officer of the Army’s 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, said that the target of the operations was the firearms factory of the terrorists in the area.

(Credit: 33rd Infantry Makabayan Battalion / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Credit: 33rd Infantry Makabayan Battalion / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We specifically targeted the firearms manufacturing capability of the BIFF. It is part of our ongoing efforts in degrading their firepower as we pressure them to surrender,” Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc said security forces seized a gunsmithing machine, two Rocket Propelled Grenades Launchers, a Cal .45 M1911 pistol, a 12-gauge Shotgun, rifle grenades, unfinished home-made guns, and assorted ammunition.

He said 15 people were also held for questioning but they were promptly released to the local government officials.

Synchronizing different capabilities, Cabunoc said the operation was participated in by different units of the Army such as the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion and the 7th Field Artillery Battalion.

“To keep our winning edge against a highly adaptive enemy in a complex environment, we employed different capabilities to maximize combined arms effects. The synergized effort enables the police commandos to serve the warrants against the suspects,” Cabunoc said.

Lt. Col. Lauro Oliveros, the Commanding Officer of the 1st Mechanized Battalion, said that his unit is harnessing its ability to provide maximum support to the maneuvering troops.

“Our armored vehicles provided protection to the infantry during the assault on the houses which are located within a civilian community. The sight of the roaring heavily armed armored vehicles serve as deterrence against the terrorists who mingle with civilians,” Oliveros said.

Protected by the artillery assets, police commandos executed the raid on the specific houses that are identified by informants. The suspects fled in disarray, leaving behind some weapons and war materiel.

“With artillery support behind us, we gained the confidence to execute the mission alongside our Army counterparts. The artillery had served as stern warning against those who dare to join the fray,” said Police Superintendent Darwin Padla, the Battalion Commander of the 4th Special Action Battalion who participated the operations.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, the Commander of the 6th Infantry Division, commended the troops for the successful mission.

“You have accomplished the mission without any unnecessary casualties. Continue putting on the pressure against the remnants of the BIFF so that they will eventually surrender like the others,” Sobejana said.