PNP readies complaints against BIFF leaders for Datu Piang attack

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 4) — The Philippine National Police is preparing a slew of complaints against leaders and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, convinced that the group is behind the attack on a police station and military detachment in Datu Piang, Maguindanao.

In a statement on Friday, the PNP identified Salahudin Hasan, also known as 'Salah', and Muhiden Animbang Indong or 'Commander Karialan' as leaders of the 50 militants who conducted two simultaneous raids in Datu Piang Thursday night.

Some of the suspects "harassed" the police station in Barangay Poblacion, while the rest created a commotion at the military unit to prevent troops from responding, authorities said. Soldiers managed to get to the police station, engaging the militants and forcing them to flee. The gunmen burned a police patrol car as they fled, and fired at a nearby church and school, police said.

No casualties were reported.

The PNP said the rampage lasted for about two hours, and warrants the filing of criminal complaints for attempted murder, arson, indiscriminate firing, damage to property, and grave threat and intimidation.

The BIFF is an Islamic separatist group considered by the government as terrorists. The military suspects another ISIS-linked group -- Dawlah Islamiyah, was also involved in the attack, and that they were targeting the municipal police chief.

Seventy more police personnel have been deployed to secure Datu Piang, the PNP said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay condemned the attack as an "act of terror," but stressed it should not be compared to local and foreign terrorists' siege of Marawi City in 2017 which left over 1,000 militants, soldiers, and civilians dead.