HomeNewsExtremist gunmen attack Mindanao town

Extremist gunmen attack Mindanao town

The Philippine military clarified that the town’s Catholic church and school were not burned by the gunmen

A group of gunmen reportedly inspired by the so-called Islamic State attacked the town of Datu Piang in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao late in the evening of December 3.

“Notre Dame of Dulawan is under attack and fighting is going on …. Prayers for the safety of civilians and school,” read a social media post by Oblates missionary priest Eliseo Mercado.

A few hours later, the priest again posted on his social media account the “positive news” that the fighting has stopped and the gunmen already left.

Online news site Mindanews quoted Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, saying the attack was a “harassment” of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

The military spokesman said reports that the town’s Catholic church and school were burned by the gunmen were not true, although a police car and a police outpost were torched.

On Friday morning, the Philippine National Police said the situation was already under control.

“Our troops are in place. For now, the [situation] is under control,” said police spokesman Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana.

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He said only a police vehicle was set on fire by the attackers.

“No other damage in properties. No casualties,” he said, adding that after 45 minutes, the town was cleared “from any further intrusion.”

The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front founded that has aligned with the so-called Islamic State.

Several BIFF fighters reportedly participated in the attack of the city of Marawi in 2017 that lasted for five months. The Philippine Defense department said at least 40 BIFF fighters took part in the fighting.

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