Moro rebs slam Marines buildup in Sultan Kudarat | Inquirer News

Moro rebs slam Marines buildup in Sultan Kudarat

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 07:21 AM October 06, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Friday assailed what it said was the “provocative” increasing presence of Marines in a village in Sultan Kudarat amid talks in Malaysia that Manila has said could lead to the imminent signing of a roadmap to end the insurgency that has claimed more than 150,000 lives.

A Marine commander did not dispute the claim, but said the soldiers were after illegal loggers and posed no threat to the MILF.

An unidentified member of the General Staff-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) said in a statement that blame should fall on the Philippine government should fighting erupt between the Marines and the MILF fighters.


The MILF posted the statement on its website,


According to the statement, the government and MILF cease-fire committees and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) had been apprised of the massing of Marines in Barangay Napnapin in Palimbang where rebel troops were stationed.

The MILF claimed that more than 100 Marines were in the area and were equipped with six military vehicles and armor trucks. They massed up on Oct. 2, the same day that the government and the MILF began talks in Malaysia.

The Marines are also 100 meters away from MILF troops, “a situation that could flare up into fierce encounter,” according to the BIAF official.

“This uncoordinated massing of troops by the Philippine Marines is indeed unfortunate because it is done at a time when the peace negotiations between the government of the Philippines and the MILF are going on in Malaysia,” the BIAF official said.

The official further claimed that the massing of Marine troops was a disrespect and a violation of the “cease-fire accord and the primacy of the peace process between the government and MILF.”

However, 1st Marine Brigade Commander Col. Alexander Balutan told reporters in Manila by phone that there was nothing wrong with the massing of Marine troops as this was part of the government’s anti-illegal logging campaign.


“What’s the violation there? We are not taking action against them. I am not targeting the MILF, even their camp, as there is no declared camp there authorized by both the government and the MILF.”

Balutan said that the Marines were only after “lawless elements” who were part of the illegal logging activities in the area. In fact, he said, the military were prepared to serve warrants of arrest on suspected illegal loggers.

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None of them were members of the MILF, he added. With a report from AFP


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