Philippines: 40,000 people flee as clashes rage in Maguindanao between government forces and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)
Close to 40,000 residents have been displaced by the ongoing clashes between government forces and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao province, social welfare officials said on Tuesday.
Emma Ali, Maguindanao provincial social welfare chief, said the number of internally displaced persons had reached 38,235 and was still rising in evacuation centers. Some of them had taken refuge in homes of their relatives.
Ali said Shariff Saydona Mustapha town in Maguindanao posted the highest number of evacuees at 3,668 families, followed by Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, 2,021; and Shariff Aguak town, 1,958.
“The number of evacuees rises and falls every now and then, depending on what happens overnight,” Ali said. At one point, the number rose to 48,000 since the fighting between government troops and the BIFF rebels broke out on Nov. 24.