Two soldiers and 10 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) died Wednesday in a fierce gun battle in Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao that lasted for six hours.
Lt. Col. Dingdong Atilano, spokesman of the 6th Infantry Division, said the firefight also resulted in the wounding of 13 more soldiers from the 57th Infantry Battalion.
The incident happened while Army troopers were conducting operations in the town against members of the Daulah Islamiyah led by Sonny Indal.
The group of Indal has been reportedly hiding near the BIFF camps as part of their strategy against pursuing government troopers.
They encountered the BIFF members in Barangay Penditen at around 5:30 a.m.
During the gun battle, a large group of BIFF members reinforced the Daulah Islamiyah members. The initial exchange of gun fire resulted in the death of two soldiers and four BIFF members.
“The encounter lasted until 11:30 a.m. The fatality on the side of the enemy rose to 10 with several others injured,” said Atilano.
The BIFF is a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that opposes the peace deal with the government. The BIFF has been tagged in various bomb attacks in Maguindanao and nearby areas.