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BIFF has split into 3 factions — MILF

/ 11:43 PM November 06, 2014
Ahud (aka Murad) Ebrahim. FILE PHOTO/MALACANANG PHOTO BUREAU

Ahud (aka Murad) Ebrahim. FILE PHOTO/MALACANANG PHOTO BUREAU

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) has lost a unified leadership and its armed-wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), has split into three factions, according to the head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has signed a comprehensive peace agreement with the Philippine government.

Murad Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), made the claim last Sunday, when asked about the potential threat the group, led by former comrade Ameril Kato, posed to the peace agreement.

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Ebrahim, who spoke to reporters during Sunday’s launching of the Bangsamoro Development Plan in nearby Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, said the MILF has been trying to win BIFF members over.

“We cannot talk to them anymore as a whole organization. What we are doing is the individual approach,” he said.

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Ebrahim said that during the talks with individual Kato supporters, some exhibited positive responses although nothing has been finalized as of yet.

“Just like our comrades in the Moro National Liberation Front, they are positive in their response,” he said.

But Ebrahim admitted that there were Kato supporters, whose “doors were already closed” to talks.

He did not say who they were, but added that they were among the “three groups in the BIFF.”

The BIFM was formed by Kato over a serious disagreement with the MILF leadership in the conduct of the peace process. Kato had described the MILF’s stance as a sell-out and not in accordance with what the Muslims had always wanted , which was independence.

In recent months, his armed followers, had repeatedly engaged government troops in Maguindanao.

Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, said they were fighting for an independent Bangsamoro.

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“We do not care even if we only get one barangay,” he said.

Ebrahim said despite the BIFF’s firm stance against the peace agreement, the MILF has remained hopeful that the BIFF would eventually support the comprehensive peace pact, which would install a new Bangsamoro autonomous entity, a new sharing of wealth and resources that would favor the Bangsamoro and the disarmament of the rebels.

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TAGS: Abu Misry Mama, Ameril Kato, Armed conflict, Bangsamoro autonomy, Bangsamoro Basic Law, Bangsamoro Development Plan, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, biff, BIFM, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, factionalism, Insurgency, internal conflict, MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, Murad Ebrahim, News, Peace agreement, peace process, Philippine Government, rebellion, Regions
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