By Edwin Fernandez

Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division. (File photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – Military forces in Maguindanao del Sur have been placed on heightened alert after two extremists were killed in a clash with government forces in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town over the weekend.

As of Monday, military detachments in the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Mamasapano, and Shariff Saydona in Maguindanao Sur, areas where the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIFF) operates, remain on alert for possible retaliatory attacks.

Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team conducted the decisive military operations at about 5 a.m. Saturday that left two members of the BIFF dead.

Brig. Gen. Jose Vladimir Caraga, 1BCT commander, said the remains of two slain BIFFs were retrieved in the village of Kitango in Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

“We found an M16 rifle, a .50-caliber homemade Barrett rifle, ammunition, and two improvised explosive devices,” Caraga said in his report to Rillera.

Caraga said about 20 BIFFs were sighted by civilians in the village and alerted military checkpoints nearby, which triggered the clash.

He said soldiers are now pursuing the BIFF group belonging to the Kagui Karialan faction.

On March 3, a BIFF fighter was killed while his father, a sub-leader, was arrested in Mamasapano, Maguindanao del Sur. (PNA)