COTABATO, Philippines (Xinhua) – Three civilians has been injured in fighting between government security forces and breakaway members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato, an official said Saturday.
Sindatun Karim, town police commander of Pikit, said that armed men belonging to Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) simultaneously attacked two Patrol Base of 7th Infantry Battalion in the villages of Selik and Dasawaw around 10.20pm local time on Friday.
“There were no casualties on the government side but a couple and their grandchild were hit by stray bullets,” Karim said.
Colonel Audie Edralin, commander of 7th IB, condemned the attacks, adding thousands of civilians have been affected by the rebels’ offensives in the region.
“We deploy more troops along the national highway to prevent any attempt by the rebels to take control of the highway,” he said.
Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesman, claimed responsibility for their attacks.
He said there was a standing order from their Chief of Staff, Commander Carialan, to stage more attacks against military in Mindanao.
Dawn Friday, two civilians, one of them a child, were killed and three others wounded when a mortar shell fell and exploded in their boat as they were fleeing a battle between soldiers and BIFF in the village of Kabasalan, also in Pikit.
The BIFF, which broke away from the MILF, has been carrying out attacks in the southern Philippines to force the government to negotiate with the group, which is fighting for an independent Bangsamoro homeland.