MILF gives Kato ultimatum | Inquirer News

MILF gives Kato ultimatum

/ 03:14 PM September 15, 2011

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Thursday Ameril Umbra Kato had only until September 26 to return to the fold of the MILF’s military arm, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.

But as soon as the ultimatum was issued, members of Kato’s Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters clashed with MILF forces in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, leaving four people dead, MILF spokesman Von Al Haq said.

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Al-Haq told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone that the decision to give Kato more time to reconsider his decision to leave the MILF was backed by the Ulama Council.

“If he fails, he would be declared outside of the coverage of the peace process and the ceasefire [agreement with government],” Al Haq said.

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Kato officially announced his secession from the MILF last January with the formation of the BIFF.

Al Haq said members of the Ulama Council recently met with Kato and told him to “settle whatever kinks he has with the MILF” by September 26.

Al-Haq said the recent meeting between Kato and the Ulama Council may be the last mission to woo him back before the MILF leadership decides what action to take with respect to the BIFF.

In Datu Piang, Maguindanao, armed men identified with Kato’s BIFF attacked forces of the MILF’s 106th Base Command around 5 a.m. Wednesday, Al Haq said.

He said the five-hour battle in Barangay Ganta left four people dead – two from Kato’s side – and five others,  including two MILF rebels, were wounded.

“The fighting was sporadic. Our men did not fire first. They were ambushed by Kato’s men while crossing the village,” Al Haq said.

Al Haq said residents have evacuated to safer ground for fear of their safety.

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Wednesday’s clash was the latest violence between forces identified with Kato and the MILF.

Last month, at least 14 people were killed in a series of clashes between MILF rebels and BIFF forces in Maguindanao.

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TAGS: Ameril Umbra Kato, MILF, Mindanao peace process
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