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13 Moro rebels die in Mindanao airstrikes
By Manolo B. Jara December 27, 2017
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MANILA: At least 13 “rogue” Moro rebels were slain and five others were wounded in overnight Christmas Day airstrikes when they attacked an Army detachment in Maguindanao province in Mindanao, the military and the police reported on Tuesday.

In a related development, the military and the police also went on nationwide full alert for possible attacks by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which observed its 49th founding anniversary on Tuesday.

Senior Superintendent Agustin Tello, the provincial police chief, said members of the secessionist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers, attacked a military camp in a village in the town of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao on Christmas Day. But Tello said the soldiers succeeded in repelling the raid and as the rebels fled, two government attack helicopters went into action and launched airstrikes that killed 15 and wounded five others.

The BIFF, which has pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists in the Middle East, was founded by the late Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) veteran field commander Ameril Umbra Kato who seceded with 1,000 of his armed followers due to policy differences with the front leaders over the conduct of their peace talks with the government.

Abu Misry Mama, the BIFF spokesman, confirmed the killing and wounding of their cohorts in the airstrikes but vowed to avenge their deaths.

Meanwhile, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), announced that all their units nationwide went on full alert to prevent possible attacks by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which is observing its 49th founding anniversary on Tuesday.

“The AFP is on full alert and vigilant for possible CPP-NPA attacks on our people and vulnerable communities,” Arevalo said, a stand echoed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The CPP and its armed component the NPA or New People’s Army have been conducting a Maoist style insurgency against the government for close to 50 years, considered the longest in Asia and the Pacific.

But Arevalo stressed that the military and the police would remain on “defensive mode” due to the Christmas and New Year ceasefire declared by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte with the Maoists.

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