MANILA (Mabuhay) — The number of police officers killed in a clash against suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Maguindanao has risen to 50, a regional police official said Monday.
Senior Superintendent Noel Armilla, director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), revealed that the number went up from Sunday, when at least 30 elite police officers were reportedly killed.
The fatalities were members of the PNP’s elite Special Action Force.
Authorities are now focused on recovering the bodies of these police officers.
Meanwhile, Mamasapano Mayor Benzar Ampatuan confirmed that two civilians were injured in the gun battle, which happened in Barangay Tukanalipao, it added.
Sources said the police operation was to serve an arrest warrant on Malaysian bombmaker Zulkifli Bin Hir, also known as “Marwan,” whose presence had been confirmed in the area. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $5-million reward for information on “Marwan.”
Leaders of the MILF has said the government did not coordinate with them for the said operation.
The deadly clash has prompted Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to suspend hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. (MNS)