MANILA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Philippines forces gunned down on Wednesday two terrorists allegedly carrying an improvised explosive device (IED) in North Cotabato, a province in the southern Philippines.
Local army spokesman Arvin Encinas said the two bomb couriers aboard a motorcycle attempted to transport the IED but were flagged down at a military checkpoint for inspection.
"When the troops approached to check them, they attempted to flee and one suspect drew a firearm and shot the troops," Encinas said in a statement.
Encinas said this prompted the troops to shoot back, killing the two people on the spot.
He added that troops found a pistol and an IED inside a paper bag from these two people, who were believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
"The bomb couriers are trying to plot a bomb terror attack in the province of North Cotabato," the military spokesman added.
"It would have resulted in casualties had we not prevented (these people)," said Encinas.
BIFF members are mostly disgruntled former members of the larger insurgent group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace accord with the government.
The BIFF was established in 2010 by former MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato who died of a heart attack in 2015.
According to the Philippine government and military, there are up to 400 BIFF terrorists operating in the southern Philippines.
The BIFF is among the armed groups in Mindanao that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.