BIAF Spokesperson clarifies on Army’s claim 10 "bandits allegedly killed" in Sultan Kudarat firefight

Tacurong City – “There were no bandits in that place, referring to Sitio Mantisao where armed clashes took place on Thursday, May 18. The community is MILF controlled area,” Von Al Haqq, Spokesperson of BIAF-MILF told 

“A BIAF-MILF signage hanged on a house along the community road going towards the place of incident clearly determined that the area belongs to the MILF,” Al Haqq said. 

“The claimed by the 33rd Infantry Battalion headed by Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc that there were bandits operating in Sitio Mantisao, Barangay Bual is not true. The Army entered into the village without coordination and fired at our BIAF forces about 5 o’clock in the morning on Thursday,” he said. 

Al Haqq said that their forces were surprised but able to return fire to the approaching elements of 33rd IB along with some CAFGU members who have joined in the military operation. 

“It is false that 10 died and 8 wounded in the firefight but the truth is only one was wounded in action (WIA) among the BIAF, the other four were civilians who were not a party to the firefight,” Al Haqq further said. 

“The civilians are Bisaya Christians miners,” he added.

The wounded civilians according to Alhaq were identified as Marino Arnaez, 30yrs old from Compostela Valley Province, Rodel Mias Sano, 26yrs old, Edwin Mias Bernal 37yrs old, residents of Malita Davao Occidental, and the other one wounded was a Sitio Leader of Mantisao named Dally Sambaga, 52 yrs old.

“One BIAF-MILF member who was arrested inside his house was Abdul Maguid Logioman with soldiers taking his firearms”,  Al Haqq said in the exclusive interview by 

The version of Military, on the other hand said that soldiers and the local police were serving a warrant of arrest against a certain “Commander Dimas”. Dimas in other news reports was a “former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) field commander who turned into banditry”, and, “is facing multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges”.

Some news released also portrayed: “Dimas and his men are engaged in large-scale distribution of shabu and clandestine propagation of Marijuana plants”.  “Dimas is allegedly implicated in more than 30 cattle rustling in recent months”.

However, when this referred and clarified to Al Haqq, he said, “It is a mere propaganda.  Dimas is a legitimate member of BIAF-MILF and never been involved in any acts of banditry.” 

“He is a bonifide member of BIAF and in the MILF we don’t have lost commands,” he elucidated. 

Luwaran also received a report that after a fierce gun battle between the BIAF/MILF elements and the government troops for almost 7hours including mortar shelling from the military that day, the incident reached the MILF and GPH Coordinating Committee on the Session of Hostilities (CCCH) that prompted them to call for an immediate ceasefire and went to the area in the afternoon on Thursday to conduct investigation. The following day the International Monitoring Team (IMT) also went to the area and conducted its own investigation.