A LEADER and known bomb-maker of the local terrorist group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed in an encounter with government forces in Maguindanao on Dec. 26, the military reported late Sunday.  

“The neutralization of one of the pillars of the BIFF is a positive development in the anti-terror campaign of the government in Central Mindanao. It also disrupted the bombing activities in the area,” said Lt. Gen. Alfredo V. Rosario, Jr., commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command. 

The fatality was identified as Zukarno Guilil, known as the head of one unit of the BIFF and had several standing warrants of arrest for murder, destructive arson, and violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. 

Guilil’s body was recovered along with two fragmentation grenades. 

The BIFF is a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a peace deal with the government in 2014 that paved the way for the creation of the now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.  

Maj. Gen. Juvymax R. Uy, head of the joint military-police task force in the encounter area, said community members and the local government in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town in Maguindanao provided government troops with leads on the presence of the BIFF faction.  

Mr. Uy said operations are continuing to track down the rest of the group, but at the same time called on the remaining members of the BIFF “to return to the folds of the law and live a peaceful life with their families.” 

Apart from the BIFF, other extremist groups that continue to be active in parts of southern Philippines include the Daulah Islamiyah Philippines, whose leader was killed in October, and the Abu Sayyaf known for kidnap-for-ransom operations. — MSJ