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MILF can’t explain why Marwan was in Mamasapano camp

/ 04:15 PM February 05, 2015
Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front  AP FILE PHOTO

Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front AP FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) could not explain why slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, was hiding in their controlled territory in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“That’s a question that is really hard for me to answer,” MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone on Wednesday night.

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The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed Marwan’s death after his DNA sample sent by the Philippine government matched with the sample from his brother Rahmat Abhir who is detained at Guantanamo Bay, Florida.

Marwan has a $5-million bounty on his head. He was tagged in a series of attacks in the region including the 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia that left at least 200 people dead.

Iqbal also could not say if Marwan was being coddled by their members without the MILF’s leadership knowledge.

“We can’t establish that idea. As you know, he is highly mobile. The last time we heard of him he was spotted in Sulu,” Iqbal said.

On January 25, police commandos came to Barangay (village) Tukanalipao in Mamasapano for a “law enforcement operation against Marwan and his Filipino terrorist Basit Usman. Usman managed to escape.

That raid ended in government forces clashing with MILF members and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

The MILF is talking peace with the government. The BIFF, on the other hand, is a breakaway group of the MILF.

Forty-four police commandos, 18 rebels and four civilians were killed in the fighting.

“Technically, he was in the area but he is not inside our camp. He was staying in the community but all the people in the community were our members,” Iqbal said.

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There were reports that Marwan’s remains were buried by his followers at the back of an old mosque in Libutan village in Mamasapano.

But Mosairin Abdul, barangay chairman of Libutan, denied the foreign terrorist was buried in his community.

“There is no truth to that. We have seen it reported [on] television that he was buried at the back of the Pusaka Mosque but when we verified, it turned out negative,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Wednesday afternoon.

“Residents here are afraid because the military might come here and get his remains,” he added.

Panansang Panga, Barangay Bagumbung chairman, said they were not aware Marwan was in the Mamasapano.

“We only learned he was here when the police raided his hideout,” he said.

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TAGS: atrocity, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Forces, Basit Usman, biff, bloodshed, carnage, Ceasefire, clash, Encounter, fact finding, gun battle, harboring of criminals, inquiry, investigation, law enforcement, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, manhunt for terrorists, Marwan, massacre of policemen, MILF, Mohaqher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, News, peace process, pursuit operations, Regions, serving of an arrest warrant, Special Action Force Philippine National Police, suspected terrorists, terror suspects, warrant of arrest, Zulkifli bin Hir
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