MILF, BIFF clash in Maguindanao town

Posted at 10/20/2012 3:07 PM | Updated as of 10/21/2012 11:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Firefighter (BIFF) engaged in a gunfight in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, according to a military official.

Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo, commander of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said the clash occurred at a remote area in Mamasapano on Thursday, less than a week after a framework agreement was signed between the government and the MILF.

The clash resulted to the deaths of at least 3 persons, according to Ardo.

Ardo, however, noted that the incident was caused by a long-standing “rido” or clan war between some members of the rival Moro factions.

“Those groups have standing rido, dragging the name of the MILF and BIFM [Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom],” he said.

Ardo said a previous encounter erupted between the two groups in the same area, adding that he does not believe the incident is linked to the framework agreement signed on Monday.

"They are into conflict long before," said Ardo.

He also said military forces are now on alert to prevent a similar incident, which forced several residents to flee their homes.

"We are monitoring the situation so that it [conflict] would not escalate and cause more evacuation," he said.

The Bangsamoro deal, which aims to bring peace in Mindanao, was signed on Monday in the presence of President Benigno Aquino III, MILF chairman Al Haj Murad and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.