DAVAO CITY – The military on Thursday night said a still undetermined number of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFFs) attacked a Philippine National Police (PNP) station in Datu Piang town in Maguindanao.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WesMinCom) Spokesperson Lt. Col. Alaric delos Santos, an initial report from the Joint Task Force (JTF) Central said that “at around 11 p.m., an undetermined number of BIFF (fighters) entered the town of Datu Piang, Maguindanao”.
Delos Santos said the BIFF fighters were able to overrun a PNP station, set on fire to a patrol car, before leaving.
“Accordingly, the BIFF left the area after they burned the PNP patrol car. At present, our troops are in the area and in control of the situation,” he said.
Delos Santos said there was no reported casualty on the side of the police, and that they were currently investigating the incident.
Videos with sounds of gunfire in the streets of Datu Piang circulated on social media, posted by terrified netizens. These were reminiscent of the same video clips more then three years ago when terrorists entered Marawi City before laying siege on it for five months.
Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, a resident of nearby Raja Buayan town, likened the incident to the siege in Marawi City in 2017.
“DULAWAN, Datu Piang is now like Marawi… ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)-inspired BIFF attacked town center,” he said on a Facebook post Thursday night.
“Pray for Dulawan! Allaahu Akbar! Datu Piang is 95 percent Muslim town with well settled Christians and Chinese since 1900s. It has Church and a Catholic School where I graduated high school,” Ampatuan said.
Datu Piang was formerly known as Dulawan.