The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on a violent note in the southern Philippines where authorities mounted a deadly raid on a suspected pro-Islamic State bomber’s hideout and a family of three was killed in an ambush, officials said Wednesday.
Police were dispatched to Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao province to arrest Abu Naim, a member of the IS-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who was implicated in a series of bombings in the region, but officers met with resistance early Wednesday, authorities said.
Naim and his companions provoked a gun battle when they opened fire at the arresting officers, said Maj. Esmael Madin, chief of operations for the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“We retaliated and killed a companion,” Madin told BenarNews, adding that Abu Naim escaped.
Madin identified the dead man as Marcos Manungal, a former village chief who allegedly was involved in illegal drug trafficking and extortion.
Police later arrested four suspected militants, including the mother and wife of Abu Naim. They also recovered firearms and homemade bombs from the hideout, Madin said.
“Naim was involved in various bombing activities in the region. He works as a bomb expert for BIFF under Turaife,” Madin said, referring to Abu Turaife, the leader of the BIFF, a fringe militant group in the south.
The BIFF is a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which had been the country’s largest Muslim separatist force before it signed a peace pact with the government. The MILF now controls the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Turaife’s group and other smaller militant organizations, in the meantime, have continued to stage attacks in the south.
Full story: BenarNews
Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales
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