The Filipino military launched a series of operations targeting members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao province on Monday, March 2. Operations continued through at least Sunday, March 8, resulting in at least 18 militants being killed and another nine wounded. At least four soldiers died and 11 were wounded in the fighting. Engagements were reported in Ampatuan and Datu Hoffer Ampatuan municipalities, with the army using air and artillery support to bombard suspected strongholds. Soldiers recovered firearms, ammunition, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and other material during the operations.
Further security operations targeting militant groups in Maguindanao are likely over the near term.
BIFF is an Islamist militant organization and Moro secessionist group active on Mindanao. The group has been active since 2008, when it split from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Individuals in the southern Philippines are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, anticipate continued military operations, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
As a reminder, several Western governments advise against travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago due to the risk of kidnapping and terrorism.