Mon, 18 Jan 2021

MANILA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Around 50 suspected members of a militant group has attacked a military camp in Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines, the military said on Friday.

Lt. Col. Alaric Delos Santos, the spokesman of the military's Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked an army camp in Datu Piang town at around 10:20 p.m. on Thursday.

He said the militants withdrew after a 15-minute firefight. There were no casualties on both sides, he added.

The spokesman said the military launched a pursuit operation minutes after the fighting.

He said the fleeing militants torched a police car as they retreated. "They saw an abandoned police car and burned it," he said.

"We are on top of the situation," Wesmincom commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan said, adding the troops had cleared the area.

"This is just an isolated case. The BIFF left the area after they burned the police patrol car," he said, adding that an investigation was underway.

Vinluan said the BIFF is the target of ongoing military offensives in the area, and it may have attempted the attack in Datu Piang to divert the military's attention.

The BIFF is one of the extremist groups based in the Mindanao region with factions linked to the Islamic State terrorist network.

The BIFF, composed of around 200 to 300 men, are blamed for bombings and other atrocities in Central Mindanao.

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