24 June 2017

News Story: Alliance between Maute and BIFF possible, military says

By Audrey Morallo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine military on Friday admitted that a tactical alliance between two terror groups on Mindanao island was possible as it downplayed threats that the next target of Islamist operations was President Rodrigo Duterte.

Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, deputy commander of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said that a tactical alliance between the Maute terror group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters was possible as the latter had augmented the forces of other local militant groups in the past.

Gapay also downplayed BIFF’s threat that its next target would be the president himself after its fighters raided a village in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato on Wednesday. The BIFF militants snatched away five residents as they fled from government troops pursuing them.

“As far as tactical alliance is concerned, that is very possible. And we have seen that in some operations wherein BIFF fighters are sending augmentation to not just to Maute but also to other local terrorist groups in the country,” the military officer said in a media conference.

The possible alliance between the BIFF and the Islamist militants currently holding small pockets of Marawi could pose more problems to a Philippine government already struggling to end the almost one-month-old siege of the city.

Read the full story at PhilStar