Philippine military lauds success against Muslim rebels

2014-02-02 15:05:45 GMT2014-02-02 23:05:45(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MANILA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine military on Sunday hailed the success of the week-long offensive operations against the Muslim militant group of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters ( BIFF).

Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, chief public affairs officer of the Philippine military, said that the successful conduct of " Operation Darkhorse," which was officially terminated on Sunday, resulted in the neutralization of 101 known BIFF personalities, 52 of them were killed and 49 wounded.

The operations also resulted in the recovery of several firearms and explosive ordnance, seizure of four BIFF camps, and the neutralization of a makeshift improvised explosive device factory which produces homemade bombs for attacks in Central Mindanao, he added.

On the government side, Zagala said that one soldier was killed in action while 20 others were wounded. Eight civilians caught in the crossfire were also wounded.

Operation Darkhorse was supposed to end last Thursday, but it was extended for 72 hours to "apply further pressure" against the BIFF upon the approval of the Joint Ad Hoc Joint Action Group ( AHJAG) of the government and the Moro Islam Liberation Front (MILF) , Zagala said.

The AHJAG is a joint effort of the government and the MILF to stop lawless elements taking refuge in communities of the former Muslim rebel group of MILF.

"It showed the commitment of the MILF to rid its communities of the BIFF so that the peace process of the Bangsamoro would be unhampered," he said.

Operation Darkhorse was launched by the Philippine Army shortly after the completion of the four annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the MILF on Jan. 25 in Malaysia.

The BIFF broke away from the MILF after the latter dropped its call for an independent Islamic state in the Southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

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