KIDAPAWAN CITY—Military authorities on Thursday reported the death of a suspected bomb maker of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a law enforcement operation in Pikit town, Cotabato province.
Lt. Col. Niel Roldan, 7th Infantry Battalion (IB) commanding officer, said Katato Samad, a bomb-making expert of the BIFF’s Kagi Karialan faction, was killed during a brief encounter with government troops in Barangay Manaulanan, Pikit town, on Wednesday.
Samad had been linked to the series of explosions that toppled the transmission towers of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in Pikit in 2015, Roldan said in a report to Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander.
Roldan said Samad headed the special operations group and bomb makers of the BIFF’s first division. Local officials and BIFF rebels, who later surrendered, said Samad’s body was carried by his fleeing comrades.
Presence of gunmen
Elements of the 7th IB said they went to the village after being informed of the presence of gunmen, but were fired upon by at least 10 BIFF members led by Commander Manampan when they arrived.
The military said the operation led to the recovery of one motorbike, improvised explosive device (IED) components, ammunition, documents and personal belongings.
Three BIFF members from the village also surrendered to government troops on the same day.
They included a certain Terek Nao, Tato Bantas and Tatowan Gandawali who turned in a home-made .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle, an M79 grenade launcher, a 9mm submachine gun and two complete IED sets.
Later led into Barangay Dasawao, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, in Maguindanao where the rebels kept the IEDs manufactured by Samad, government troops found two complete IED sets with electrical detonators and blasting caps and one live 81mm mortar projectile.
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