5 BIFF combatants yield in Maguindanao

Five members of the notorious Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered amid an intensified Army manhunt against local terrorists in Maguindanao province, the military here said Thursday.

Brigadier Gen. Pedro Balisi, commander of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade (MIB) based in this city, said the BIFF men were presented to him following their surrender Wednesday afternoon.

Balisi said the BIFF fighters, now known as Former Violent Extremists (FVEs), initially negotiated their surrender to Mayor Abdulkarim Talusan Langkuno of Paglat town, Maguindanao.

The group claimed they operate in the peripheries of Paglat, Buluan, Datu Paglas, and Gen. SK Pendatun towns.

They turned over high-powered firearms comprising a 57-mm Recoilless Rifle, an M16 rifle, a .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle, and arocket-propelled grenade launcher with ammunition.

“I hope they will convince their colleagues who are still out there on the benefits of rejoining the mainstream and live peacefully with your families and loved ones,” Balisi said.

Langkuno, for his part, has lauded the efforts of security forces for their continuing community engagement in Paglat town that led the FVEs to surrender to the government

“You are now with the government, live your life to the fullest, build a happy family so we can have a happy community,” Langkuno told the surrenderers in a statement.

The surrenderers received initial livelihood assistance that included a farm hand tractor to start their lives anew.

To date, 126 BIFF rebels have surrendered to military authorities in Maguindanao this year.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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