20 BIFF members killed in Maguindanao clashes with troops

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 13) — At least 20 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed in a series of clashes with government troops in Maguindanao.

The members of the BIFF as well as the Daesh-inspired terror group were neutralized Tuesday following an intensive operation of military on ground in Salibu, Pagatin, Mamasapano, and Shariff Aguak.

Major General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said troops will continue to go after bandits "to safeguard the civilians and put an end to this menace of society."

"Soldiers of the 6ID have been vigilantly guarding the entire Central Mindanao in order to constrict the firefight in specific engagement areas and continue to pursue the remnants of the terror group," he added.

Aside from the BIFF members, a foreigner-- suspected to be an Arab- -was also killed in the clash.

The government side meanwhile reported one casualty, while 11 soldiers were wounded.

In February, five soldiers were killed in a clash with a hundred Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu. Last Friday, the government forces in the area launched attacks, including aerial bombings, in the area to combat Abu Sayyaf fighters.

CNN Philippines has not been able to independently verify these numbers.