Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
|Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters|
|Dates of operation||2008–Present|
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), also known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, is an Islamist militant organization based in Mindanao, the Philippines. They are a smaller player in the overall Moro insurgency in the Philippines and are mostly active in Maguindanao and other places in central Mindanao. It is a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front founded by Ameril Umbra Kato. Kato wants full independence and disagrees with the MILF's acceptance of autonomy.
Kato broke with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2008. In 2008, after the Philippine Supreme Court nullified the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain signed by the Philippine government and the MILF, Kato led a contingent of MILF fighters in an attack against civilians. In December 2010, Kato formed the BIFF. He claimed to have 5,000 fighters but the government said that he had 300. It wasn't until August 2011 that the MILF recognized the break and declared the BIFF a "lost command".
The BIFF rejected the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a preliminary peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF, and vowed to continue their fight. In January 2014, after the final annexes of the Framework Agreement were signed, the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched Operation Darkhorse against the BIFF. The army captured the BIFF's main camp in Barangay Ganta, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao which reportedly had 500 fighters.
Along with the MILF, on January 25, 2015, the BIFF was involved in the 2015 Mamasapano clash, leading to the deaths of 44 members of SAF, 18 from MILF and 5 from the BIFF. Following the event, the group engaged in some clashes against the AFP, prompting AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang to announce in late February 2015 an all-out offensive against the BIFF. The All-Out-Offensive resulted to more 100 casualties in the BIFF.
They also suffered a split when a commander Tambako,formed the Justice for Islamic Movement to protect the foreign terrorists hiding in BIFF controlled areas.He was captured in General Santos City trying to escape the law.
After founder Ameril Umbra Kato's death, BIFF's former vice-chairman for political affairs, Ismael Abubakar alias "Bongos," took leadership over the group. Among the first moves of BIFF with Abubakar as new chieftain, is bombing an outpost of the Philippine Army and two different detachments of the Special Action Force (SAF) in Maguindanao on April 19, 2015.
- Andong, Lore Mae (14 April 2015). "BIFF confirms Kato's death; replacement named". ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- "Is BIFF the MILF’s ‘BFF’?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. February 1, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- "Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) | Terrorist Groups | TRAC". Trackingterrorism.org. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- "BIFF, Abu Sayyaf pledge allegiance to Islamic State jihadists | News | GMA News Online". Gmanetwork.com. August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Romero, Alexis (February 3, 2014). "Military declares end of offensive vs BIFF". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Acosta, Rene P. (September 24, 2012). "Philippines rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters undermines peace talks | Asia Pacific Defense Forum in English". Apdforum.com. Retrieved September 28, 2013.[dead link]
- "5 soldiers, 18 Moro rebels slain in clashes | Inquirer News". Newsinfo.inquirer.net. July 8, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Pacardo, Louie O., and Albert F. Arcilla (February 2, 2014). "Soldiers overrun rebel camp in Maguindanao". Business World. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Medina, Andrei (February 4, 2014). "MNLF, BIFF form alliance – report". GMA News. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Hegina, Aries Joseph (February 25, 2015). "AFP chief Catapang orders ‘all-out offensive’ vs BIFF". Inquirer. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
- "BIFF bombs Army, SAF detachments in Maguindanao". Philippine Star. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
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