Highway in Maguindanao town reopens hours after battle between military and rebels

Published May 8, 2021, 6:25 PM

by Liza Abubakar-Jocson

The national highway of Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao is now open to motorists after becoming the scene of fighting between government troops and the BIFF at dawn Saturday.
The national highway was the scene of fighting at dawn Saturday between military forces under the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the BIFF’s Kagui Karialan faction.
Lt. Col. John Baldomar, Spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the rebels were on their way to take over Datu Paglas town when they figured in an encounter with the military.
Government troops were able to flush out rebels who hid in some structures of the Datu Paglas market.
Attack helicopters assisted ground troops in driving out the rebels towards the direction of Liguasan Marsh.
As of this afternoon, Baldomar said miltary are conducting pursuit operations against the rebels.
Hundreds of motorists were stranded along the borders of Maguindanao and Cotabato provinces as government troops secured the highway.
Four improvised explosive devices were recovered along the highway during mopping up operations later that afternoon.
“Wala pong nangyaring pagkasira ng infrastructure. Wala rin pong injured sa part ng government troops at civilians,” said Baldomar during a phone interview.
Dozens of evacuees however trooped to the Bagua Datu Elementary School in Datu Paglas for temporary shelter.
Military and police personnel are still in Datu Paglas to guard the city.
Baldomar said the firefight between the soldiers and the rebels happened after a series of encounters in several Maguindanao towns to drive out the rebels.
The military was able to intercept the rebels after receiving reports about an attempt by the latter to occupy Datu Paglas.