DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Xinhua) – Three people were killed in an encounter between villagers and suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in southern Philippines on Thursday morning, a military official said.
Gunmen from the BIFF attacked Bagumbayan village in President Quirino town, Sultan Kudarat province early Thursday morning, sparking a gun battle which lasted for hours, according to Col Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
Police said a brother of the former town mayor and two gunmen were slain in the fighting in Bagumbayan village.
Another group of BIFF gunmen also assaulted a village in the nearby town of General Salipada K Pendatun in neighbouring Maguindanao province.
Authorities believe that a land dispute between the slain village and the attackers’ leader may have caused the clash.
Military and police troops are currently in the area to conduct pursuit operation against the attackers.
The BIFF is the armed wing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), a breakaway faction of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front which has forged a peace agreement with the Philippine government.a