The military of the Philippines. (Source: Philippine Army)
Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippine military recently launched air and ground operation in the southern province of Maguindanao, killing 21 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Manila Times reported on March 19.

The attacks between March 13-16 were a severe blow to the terrorist group, whose many members have pledged allegiance to the self-claimed Islamic State (IS), said spokesperson of the Philippine army Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.

The general was cited by the media as saying from Mindanao island in southern Philippines that the target was completely destroyed, adding that there were no civilians in the area during the attack.

The attacks were launched when foreign and local extremists were meeting at a BIFF enclave in Maguindanao, Padilla said, affirming that the Philippine troops are still tracking down the remnants of the BIFF group.

Muslim rebels have waged a separatist insurgency in the south of the mainly
Catholic Philippines since the 1970s, with the conflict claiming more than 120,000 lives.

While the major rebel organisations have for years observed a ceasefire as part of peace efforts, breakaway factions like the BIFF and other Muslim gangs still engage in bombings and kidnappings.-VNA