BIFF faction leader, 10 fighters killed in clash

By John Felix M. Unson, Contributor

COTABATO CITY — One of the three top faction leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) wanted for 47 heinous crimes was killed along with 10 of his followers in a clash with soldiers in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao del Sur province on Monday.

Mohiden Alimodin Animbang, more notoriously known as “Kagui Karialan” who is tagged as the brains behind 20 deadly bombings in Central Mindanao over the last seven years, succumbed to three bullet wounds in the torso on the grass field where he and his men traded shots with Army Scout Rangers and personnel of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT).

Members of different Municipal Peace and Order Councils in the province and commanders of units under the Army’s 6th Infantry Division confirmed on Tuesday morning that Mr. Animbang was among the 11 lifeless bodies on the field.

Army Brig. Gen. Jose Vladimir R. Cagara of the 1st BCT and his superior, Major Gen. Alex S. Rillera, 6th ID commander, separately told reporters that among the 10 other who were killed was the BIFF leader’s younger brother, Sa-ga Alimodin Animbang.

The younger Mr. Animbang was one of 74 men trained by Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” in bomb-making. Marwan was killed on Jan. 25, 2015 in an encounter with the police Special Action Force in Ma-masapano, Maguindanao del Sur.

Mr. Caraga said Monday’s gunbattle broke out when soldiers responded to a report from local officials that heavily armed men were gathered in the village of Kitango in Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

“We are thankful to the vigilant people who promptly provided our units in Maguindanao del Sur with information about the convergence there of these terrorists, enabling us to immediately launch a calibrated anti-terror strike,” Mr. Rillera said.

The slain BIFF leader had 47 criminal cases pending before various courts from charges of arson, bombing, and large-scale extortion to murders such as gangland-style executions of villagers on mere suspicion of conniving with the police and military.