AUTONOMOUS Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman on Thursday denied that war has broken out in Mindanao.
"There is no truth to the information circulating on Twitter, Facebook, and social media which allege that war has broken out in Mindanao. Please refrain from sharing and posting similar information so as not to cause undue panic," Hataman said.
Rumors of the supposed war in Mindanao broke out in the social media after the series of attacks carried out by the newly-formed Moro rebel group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM).
The BIFM is formed by Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato, a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who led attacks in Mindanao after the botched signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the MILF in 2008.
"While it is true that there were attacks on military installations by the BIFM, a group led by breakaway MILF commander Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato, most of these have already been contained by our armed forces and they have our support in their continuing efforts to protect and ensure the safety of our people," Hataman said.
There were earlier reports that the BIFM are holed up in communities in Maguindanao, making it hard for the military to launch attacks against the Moro rebel group.
The BIFM launched a series of attacks on eight military detachments in Maguindanao last August 5.
The attacks and skirmishes between the BIFM and Army soldiers went on until August 7.
There were also reports of sporadic clashes between the two groups until August 9.
As the BIFM carries out the attack, its fighters torched houses in at least three barangays.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that a total of 22 houses were torched in barangays Meta, Iganagampong, and Maitumaig.
Classes have also been suspended in the province affecting 10,572 pupils.
The NDRRMC said that four soldiers have been killed in the skirmishes. They were identified as Sgt. Sonny Estabilo, Private First Class Arsenio Nunescan, Private First Class Henry Caunga, and Private Duniel Aragon.
A farmer has been reported killed in the clashes and three more soldiers have been injured.
It said that based on reports from the ground, four members of the BIFM were also killed in the clashes. (JOHN M. UNSON)