Manila: Philippine troops have killed a bombmaker from one of the three factions of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Central Mindanao.
Ebrahim Ali was killed in a combined police and military operation close to the headquarters of the Army 6th Infantry Division in the village of Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on Tuesday evening, the town’s police chief Insp Achmad Alibonga said.
Army personnel and members of the Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were conducting an operation when Ali was sighted by authorities near a fuel station.
Ali reportedly tried to engage in battle with the security forces, using his pistol, prompting government forces to shoot him fatally.
The slain suspect ranked high on the Department of National Defence’s list of wanted persons, for making improvised explosive devices that were being used against government forces and to spread terror among the public.
The death of Ali comes in the wake of numerous attacks carried out by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in recent days.
Meanwhile the BIFF, which was formed by the late Ameril Umbra Kato in 2011 from disgruntled members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has reportedly split into three groups with one cell claiming allegiance to a black flag group of fundamentalists led by a certain Esmail Abdul Malik.
The slain Ali was said to be a member of Abdul Malik’s group which specialises in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Aside from Abul Malik’s group, another BIFF faction is tied to Imam Kalarian while a third splinter is led by another former member of the MILF.
The MILF, which is bound by a 2014 peace agreement with the Philippine government, is going after groups of the BIFF such as the Abdulmalik faction in an effort to control the spread of Islamic extremism espoused by groups such the Lanao del Sur-based Maute and the Abu Sayyaf.
The BIFF and the MILF had been engaged in clashes in recent days resulting in the death of 20 BIFF fighters and the wounding of at least four members of the MILF.