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A bloody Christmas crusade

COTABATO (UCAN): Seven farmers were slaughtered on Christmas Eve in Sultan Kudarat province, Maguindanao, during what the military described as coordinated attacks on small communities.

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a group that had declared an alliance with the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Four of the Freedom Fighters are believed to have died in the fighting.

A lieutenant colonel from the 33rd Infantry battalion, Ricky Bunayog, said that the first attack targeted soldiers stationed in Barangay Banaba and resulted in a three-hour gunfight.

Separate attacks were launched on targets in the nearby villages of Paitan, Sagasa and Takal in Esperanza town in a neighbouring province in the same area.

Bunayong described the deaths of the farmers as having taken place in execution-style as the rebels tried to flee from the advancing government soldiers.

“They were shot one-by-one at point blank range after being captured,” he said.

Bunayog added that his troops killed four of the attacking group during fierce fighting.


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