Military says 15 BIFF fighters killed in Maguindanao offensive

MANILA, Philippines – Around 15 members of the notorious Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed in a military offensive in Maguindanao towns on Sunday, June 10, according to the military. 

Major General Cirilito Sobejana said 8 more BIFF members were wounded and two were captured, including an alleged expert bombmaker.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched an offensive in the southern area of the Liguasan Marsh – located in the boundary of Pagalungan and General Salipada K Pendatun towns – against the faction of Commander Toraifie. (READ: War vs pro-ISIS PH group rages on a year after Marawi siege)

The AFP said soldiers were able to capture the group's improvised explosive device (IED) facility, where the troops raised the Philippine flag.

Toraifie's group had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).

The military offensive drove scores of residents to flee their homes. Sobejana said the AFP is working for the quick return of affected residents. (READ: Frightened residents flee military air strikes vs BIFF

"We had a meeting late this afternoon with the peace mechanism from GPH (government) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) with the IMT (International Monitoring Group). Our agenda includes the immediate return of the IDPs (internally displaced persons) in coordination with the LGUs (local government units)," Sobejana said. 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (Heart) have assisted displaced residents of Pagalungan town, based on photos posted on the agency's Facebook page. – Rappler.com