A town councilor of a conflict-affected town in Maguindanao survived an ambush by suspected members of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Philippine Army here said Friday.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Pondanera, commander of the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion, said the vehicle of Basit Kamid, member of Sangguniang Bayan of South Upi, Maguindanao was fired upon by gunmen along a dirt road in Barangay Lamud at around 7:30 a.m.
Pondanera said Kamid, a resident of Barangay Biarong, was on board his vehicle, with his armed escorts, was unharmed.
“He was safe, and nobody in his group was hurt,” Pondanera said in a report to the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), adding that he could not say if the ambushers suffered casualties.
The ambush occurred near the Lamud Elementary School, the Army said.
Pondanera, quoting the town official, said his armed escorts exchanged gunfire with the attackers for about five minutes until the gunmen fled.
Members of the Bravo 57IB Bravo Company and South Upi police proceeded to the area to secure the civilians and run after the suspects who fled to the village.
“Pursuit operations against the perpetrators are still ongoing as of this time,” Pondanera said.
Initial investigation showed that the ambush was due to a long-standing land conflict in the area that the local government was trying to address to prevent bloodshed.
The ambush on Kamid came five days after BIFF gunmen also ambushed the convoy of South Upi Mayor Reynalbert Insular that left one hitchhiker dead and three others injured.
On New Year’s Day, some 30 houses of indigenous peoples were burned by BIFF terrorists that also forced members of the Teduray community in Barangay Itaw to flee to safer grounds.
On Jan. 3, the mayor and some relief aid workers were heading for home after distributing relief goods to displaced families from the village when the ambush occurred in nearby Barangay Pandan.
Insular was unscathed in the incident. SOVEREIGNPH