11 Philippine govt soldiers killed in military air strike on Marawi militants
Picture for representation Reuters

A landmine blast killed at least five members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Sunday after they were reported to run after some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

The blast of the landmine occurred in the second district of Maguindanao Province in the Southern Philippines. As the MILF guerrillas moved closer to identified BIFF positions so that they can surround them, a sudden landmine exploded that killed them on the spot. Bodies of the fighters were recovered from the village of Andavit in the town of Saudi Ampatuan in the same province.

Early this week, four BIFF members were shot dead on Wednesday and two MILF fighters were also wounded when both groups engaged in an intense firefight in Sharif Saydona town.

The Philippine Army detachment adjacent to the battle zone immediately rushed the wounded MILF fighters to a nearby hospital in Cotabato City.

The 6th Civil Military Operations of the Philippine Army reported that those killed were followers of MILF commander Asrap, who is working with the Philippine government to help the police and the military track down BIFF bandits and ISIS-inspired militant groups.

BIFF fighters are known to be bomb experts. Those BIFF fighters who engaged a firefight with the MILF were under the leadership of Commander Esmael Abdulmalik who was trained on bomb making by Asia's most wanted terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir. The later was killed by Philippine security forces years ago.

The BIFF is a breakaway faction of the MILF. The division happened when the latter started having peace talks with the Philippine government. BIFF founding leader Ombra Kato used to be a senior leader of the MILF but due to irreconcilable differences, he and some of his loyal followers defected from the organisation.