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Thousands flee fighting in southern Philippines

COTABATO CITY (UCAN): An estimated 16,000 people fled their homes following armed clashes between government troops and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, supporters of the Islamic State, in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao.
 
Military aircraft began pounding a suspected hideout of in the town of Shariff Saydona Mustapha on March 11.
 
“(The clashes) started with a bomb run,” commander of the army’s 6th Infantry Division, Major General Cirilito Sobejana, said. 
 

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Gunmen descrate church in Cotabato

COTABATO (UCAN): Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, from Cotabato, Mindanao, has condemned reported desecration of a Catholic chapel by terrorist gunmen in the southern Philippines on June 21.
 
The incident, in the village of Malagakit, occurred when about 300 gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, attacked Pigcawayan, Cotabato, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of residents.
 
The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

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