The estimated 500-strong Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has split into two with the new faction renouncing the association of BIFF leaders with Daesh. The BIFF is a faction of the mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that bolted out several years ago following the death of MILF founding chair Hashim Salamat.
The BIFF, operating solely in the peripheries of Maguindanao province, is not included in the ongoing government–MILF peace accord.
Speaking over local radio outlets here Friday, the new faction’s self-proclaimed spokesman is Abu Amir who have parted from the ISIS-leaning ideology of BIFF leader Imam Bongos and his spokesman Abu Misry and his bunch of loyal field commanders.
“We are not to be swayed by the ISIS ideology because we adhere to the cause of the Moro struggle and teachings of the Koran,” Amir said.
He said their faction, whose appellation remains unknown, has recognized Imam Minimbang, also known as Ustadz Karialan, as their new leader.
Both Bongos and Karialan are wanted by the law for various crimes ranging from multiple murder, harassment, and collection of revolutionary taxes from poor farming communities in the province.
Misry, in a separate interview, denied the split of the BIFF hierarchy and has pointed to the military as the one behind the move to cast a scenario of power struggle within their organization.
Misry did not elaborate on the matter.