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Army, PNP hunt down ambushers of 2 cops in Maguindanao
« on: July 02, 2015, 11:34:33 PM »
Army, PNP hunt down ambushers of 2 cops in Maguindanao
By Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY, July 1 (PNA) -- Joint police and military authorities have launched a manhunt against two suspected hitmen of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who ambushed two policemen in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Tuesday.

Senior Inspector Solaiman Bakal, police chief of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, said police have the identities of the suspects but withheld them as pursuit operation was still on going.

Bakal said the suspects shot and killed Police Officer 1 Habib Nasifu and wounded PO1 Abdullah Asim, both belonging to the PNP Regional Public Safety Battalion based in Datu Salibo town, Maguindanao.

Bakal said the two unarmed and in civilian clothes police officers were onboard a tricycle at 10 a.m. when two men riding tandem opened fire on them from behind in Sitio Manhole, Barangay Lower Salbo.

Responding policemen recovered empty shells of cal. 45 pistols at the crime scene.

Tuesday’s attack was one of the series of "hit and run" tactics by the BIFF whose strength had been reduced to less than 50 after the Army launched massive offensive against them in February.

Its spokesperson, Abu Misri Mama, quickly admitted his group was behind the attack.

Since January, at least 10 soldiers and policemen have been neutralized by BIFF hit men in Maguindanao.

Capt. Joan Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the BIFF could no longer launch major attacks against government forces and shifted to guerilla tactics, attacking soft targets like policemen and soldiers in civilian clothes conducting rehabilitation efforts in the province.

Before Tuesday's attack, the BIFF shot dead two young soldiers who were working as carpenters of Datu Unsay Elementary School.

The soldiers, both unarmed and in athletic uniforms, were on board motorbike from Shariff Aguak town carrying carpentry tools when ambushed by BIFF gunmen riding in a separate motorbike.

Following the rising cases of BIFF attacks, Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th ID chief, directed all military units in Maguindanao to refrain from using motorbike as mode of transportation along hot spot areas of the province.

Soldiers were directed to always move in tandem and armed using military vehicles to prevent sudden and unexpected attacks from BIFF lawless groups.

Despite the harassment against foot soldiers, Pangilinan said the Army will continue its peacekeeping mission in Maguindanao by helping civilians during calamities, rehabilitate damaged schools and infrastructures. (PNA)

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