Gov't forces bomb BIFF hideout in Maguindanao

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — An early-morning raid Wednesday by government forces in Maguindanao led to the bombing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the military said.

The air and artillery fire mission was conducted at 4 a.m. in Barangays Meta Data Unsay and Timbangan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, by the 601st unit, said Capt. Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division.

The faction of the BIFF was led by a certain "Commander Bungos," he added. It was unclear how many fighters were being targeted, only saying it was an "undetermined number."

The area is now being cleared by military, he said.

"Wala pa pong report, ongoing pa yung pag-galugad sa area," Encinas said.

[Translation: We have no report on it yet, search effort are ongoing in the area.]

The BIFF, founded in 2010, is a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and is based in Maguindanao.

RELATED: Military warns against MILF splinter group; Maute leaders still in Marawi

In 2014, the group and wanted Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, allegedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The presence of the BIFF came from "specific" reports from civilians and residents in the area, and monitoring by the government troops, the military said.

Encinas declined to give details of the kind of air assets used in the operation.

"Huwag na nating i-ano kung anong klaseng air asset, basta air asset. Kasi medyo sensitive 'yung ginamit natin," he said.

[Translation: Let's not get into what air asset was used. The air asset used is quite sensitive.]

The raid comes after the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits where the region's defense ministers reiterated their commitment to work closely against terrorism and extremism.

READ: 31st ASEAN Summit to tackle North Korea, South China Sea, terrorism

In October, ASEAN defense ministers released a joint statement where they said they would "identify ways to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation" within ASEAN and its partners.

READ: ASEAN defense ministers call for stronger cooperation vs. terrorism

CNN Philippines Correspondents Claire Jiao and Rex Remitio; and Digital Producers Eimor P. Santos, Pia Garcia, and VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.