50 members of PNP elite force estimated dead

Philippine National Police Director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Senior Superintendent Noel Armilla estimates that at least 50 members of PNP-Special Action Force died in an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front armed units in Tukalinapao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Reports say members of the PNP elite force were deployed in the said area to look for Zulkifli Bin Hir known to government forces as Marwan and Basit Usman.

Today, joint efforts from PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines is ongoing to recover bodies of fallen policemen. Captain Joanne Petinglay of 6th Infantry Division said “we expect to retrieve the remains of government forces from the village of Tukanalipao starting this morning.”

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said in several media interviews their was no coordination prior to the operation resulting to encounter with MILF. He added that Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters present in the area also participated in the encounter.

“What we know so far is that there is an ongoing operation in the area against a high-value target believed to be behind the recent spate of bombings in Central Mindanao,” PNP OIC Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina said. “An operational assessment is being undertaken in coordination with the military to determine possible courses of action.”