By John Unson
Publish in Philstar.com
SULTAN KUDARAT, Philippines - Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked before dawn Thursday a paramilitary detachment in President Qurino town and killed a peasant as they hastily escaped carrying six wounded companions.
Local folks have confirmed seeing the fleeing bandits carry six wounded companions as they scampered toward the swampy border of President Quirino and Lambayong town, also in Sultan Kudarat. Another group of retreating bandits shot dead a brother of the barangay chair of Katiku who was helping militiamen drive the bandits away.
The victim, a rice farmer, died from gunshot wounds in different parts of his body.
The retreating BIFF bandits figured in a two-hour firefight with responding combatants of the Army’s 601st Brigade, after failing to breach through the defense perimeters of the detachment they shot with assault rifles and B-40 anti-tank rockets.
Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the latest military-BIFF encounter was sparked by the attack on the position of militiamen in Barangay Katiku in President Quirino.
“Those bandits are trying to infiltrate the local communities which they want to subject to harsh taxation activities,” Hermoso said.
Col. Melquiades Feliciano, commanding officer of the Army’s 601st Brigade, said soldiers have been deployed in strategic areas in Barangay Katiku to prevent a repeat of the BIFF attack.