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    Posted February 4, 2014 by

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    Philippines stays on alert vs Muslim rebels

    THE military remains on alert as displaced families started to return home after the heavy fighting between government troops and the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Southern Philippines has ceased.
    Col. Edgar Gonzales, commanding officer of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Brigade based in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao, on Tuesday said the Philippine Army deployed personnel in suspected areas of operation of BIFF to thwart terror attacks like planting of explosives that target civilians and military vehicles.
    Gonzales stressed that government troopers stay on alert to ensure remnants of the BIFF remain neutralized as they could still use terror attacks after their camps were captured.
    “We are not letting our guards down, we don't take chances, we should always be one step ahead of them," he said.
    The military official said experiences in the Maguindanao campaign showed that the BIFF would likely resort to violence to scare civilians by setting off improvised bombs on their escape route.
    Three improvised bombs were planted by the BIFF in Datu Piang, Datu Shariff Saydona, Guindulungan and Datu Paglas, all in Maguindanao, after the capture of BIFF camps on Friday.
    Bomb experts recovered and safely defused an improvised explosive device (IED) planted at the foot of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) which is a signature handiwork of the BIFF.
    Gonzales said Army units are now focused on securing relief groups attending to the needs of evacuees returning to their homes.
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