BIFF: We didn’t burn Marwan’s hut

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday, March 3, denied they burned the hut of slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (Marwan) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on February 24.  

“We don't burn houses or anything that destroys civilian properties,” said Abu Misri Mama, spokesman of the BIFF.

Marwan was the target of a police Special Action Force (SAF) operation on January 25 that caused a crisis in the Aquino government with 44 SAF commandos, 18 Moro rebels and 3 civilians killed.

The incident triggered a massive military attack against the BIFF, suspected of coddling terrorists such as Marwan. It's a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a peace deal with the Aquino government.

On Sunday night, March 1, police arrested 3 suspected members of the BIFF  in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.   

The suspects, identified as Omar Sawal, Rashid Ayungan and John Yunaw, did not resist arrest when they were cornered at a checkpoint along the national highway in the town proper of Shariff Aguak.

Chief Inspector Harris Lino, town police commander, said 3 hand grenades were seized from them.

The military has launched simultaneous attacks against the BIFF in Maguindanao and the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu in the last few days, including artillery and air strikes.

The offensive has displaced thousands of civilians from Maguindanao's 7 towns. – Jeoffrey Maitem/