Moro splinter group takes non-partisan stance in polls, but welcomes poll candidates
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) has assured election candidates that it is safe to campaign in rebel territories.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesperson of the BIFM, said in a phone interview on Friday that candidates must not fear the Moro rebel group.
“We are friends of the people. The politicians must not fear us. They are welcome if they want to go inside our communities and talk with us,” Mama said.
Mama, however, stressed that leaders and fighters of the BIFM have been forbidden from participating and voting in the upcoming elections.
“We will not endorse and support any candidates,” he said.
Mama said they have lost faith in the present electoral system wherein most of the elected leaders have consistently neglected the Moro people.
“But our families and the civilians in our territories have the option to vote,” Mama said.
The BIFM, led by former Moro Islamic Liberation Front commander Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato, is claiming to have at least a thousand heavily armed fighters.
The group splintered from the MILF after serious disagreements in the conduct of the peace negotiations.
For the past elections, the MILF has also enforced a policy barring fighters and leaders from participating in the elections.
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