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ARMM seeks removal of cops in arrest of MILF commander

By: - Correspondent / @csenaseINQ
/ 07:38 PM February 28, 2014

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The peace and order council of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is seeking the replacement of the head of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group there and his men for the Feb. 23 arrest of a senior leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said on Friday that the council was preparing to pass a resolution calling for  “the relief or replacement of these arresting officers and their direct superior,” Supt. Jovit Culaway.

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Hataman said that members of the council and other ARMM and military officials agreed at a closed-door council meeting on Thursday that the arrest of Commander Wahid Tundok of the MILF’s 118th Base Command violated the peace protocol between the government and the rebels.

He said Tundok’s arrest was done without coordination with the joint government-MILF ceasefire and peace monitoring groups.

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Despite claims by the arresting officers that they had a court order for Tundok’s arrest on arson and other criminal charges, Hataman said, there should have been coordination with “higher authorities” because the arrest could jeopardize the government’s peace initiative with the MILF.

Police officials said Tundok’s name was not  on the arrest warrant, which was specifically intended for breakaway MILF commander Ameril Umra Kato,  but he was supposedly among the people referred to by the abbreviated Latin phrase “et al (and others)” who were to be arrested along with Kato.

“This CIDG blunder is one too many,” Hataman  said, adding that CIDG agents also wrongfully seized an oil tanker of Iron Blaze Petroleum, Inc., a legitimate petroleum importer based in Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao, in December, and raided a warehouse of the United Nations World Food Program at the same port in January.

“Now comes the third CIDG blunder, arresting a top MILF commander, who just attended an MILF Central Committee meeting in Sultan Kudarat (town),” added Hataman, who did not hide his displeasure over the incident.

Tundok was heading back to his base in Maguindanao after the meeting when his vehicle was flagged down at a checkpoint.

He and several of his escorts were immediately taken into custody and were kept at the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat town “for being security risk.”

The MILF has protested the arrest, adding that Tundok was covered by immunity guarantees during the peace process.

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He was eventually released on Feb. 25.

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TAGS: arm, Cotabato City, MILF, peace process, Police, Regions
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