Police, military seek public help in locating KatoBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines – The military on Tuesday appealed to the public for assistance in locating breakaway Moro group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) leader Ameril Umbra Kato following the series of attacks in Maguindanao last month.
“The AFP and PNP is calling for the public’s assistance in locating these most wanted criminals. If anyone has seen these individuals, they may contact their local police station or dial 1-1-7,” the military said.
In a statement, military chief General Jessie Dellosa said the law enforcement operations were in response to the series of harassments by the BIFFs in Maguindanao, which continued to “pose a threat to the peace and stability of our country in their selfish intent to derail the ongoing peace process.”
In those attacks, two of government troops were killed off duty, four were killed on duty, 23 were wounded in action. Military reports said two civilians were dead, and claimed that at least 50 from the BIFF were killed.
Government troops launched a series of combat operations which displaced the BIFFs from its camps.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and government forces have been working closely in order to give way to the focused combat operations and proper identification of MILF camps and positions to avoid misencounter between troops pursuing the BIFFs and members of the MILF supporting the peace talks.
Kato and MILF leader Al Hadj Abdulla Mohammad Sabber Macapaar also known as Commander Bravo/James Bond 008 have been offered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in 2008 a P10 million bounty for their arrest for their involvement in various hostilities in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, resulting in multiple murder.