outbrain
Close  

Nephew of MILF unit leader recalls how clash with SAF men erupted

/ 06:00 PM February 11, 2015

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) field commander whose group clashed with the members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) thought that the first few bursts of gunfire heard in his village came from members of armed groups locked in a feud.

Ustadz Manan, leader of the MILF unit in the interior of Barangay (village) Libutan, belongs to the MILF 105th Base Command under Zacaria Goma, and not to Ustadz Abdulwahid Tundoc’s 118th Base Command.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reached by the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone, Manan authorized his nephew Hadji Muhalidin to speak, saying he has not obtained the approval of the MILF Central Committee to speak to media.

Muhalidin, recalling what he witnessed on Jan. 25, said he received a mobile phone call from his uncle, Ustadz Manan, at about 5:30 a.m., asking him to check whether an isolated sound of gunfire heard at about 4:30 a.m. on January 25 was “again a case of grudge,” and find out who were involved, possibly to help pacify (the parties in conflict).”

FEATURED STORIES

Muhalidin said he was accompanied by few relatives, when along the way, they encountered a group of SAF men, that opened fire at them at about 7 a.m. He said the first volley of gunfire hit and killed his uncle, Guinibon Angkay, 65.

At that point, he said, the clash became inevitable and that many others he could not identify occupied the other perimeter lines of the confrontation area.

But Muhalidin said his group’s first priority was to escape and bring his uncle’s body home for pre-burial ceremonies, and to give his family ample time to inform their relatives about the death of Angkay.

Muhalidin said his group of five crept their way out of the firefight to bring Angkay’s dead body home for final blessings and burial.

It was only upon their return home, he said, that his group learned from civilians that many government troopers were seen (some five kilometers away) stationed along the Tukanalipao highway crossing, apparently, to “reinforce sundalo (soldiers)” (“sundalo” is a general local term for government troopers).

He said residents also talked about the “Freedom” (referring to the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters) as having “pinned down their enemy.” But it was from radio reports that Muhalidin learned that the group that entered the marshy area was from the PNP-SAF.

Muhalidin said his group never returned back to the clash site, since his family had to attend to Angkay’s burial rites and to visiting kin paying their last respect to the dead.

ADVERTISEMENT

He said it was “difficult to speculate” and that he could not confirm whether Marwan had guards and had shot it out with the policemen. “It’s hard to speak about something we didn’t see,” he said.

Muhalidin said contrary to some government reports his uncle, Ustadz Manan, was not the owner of the nipa house about half a kilometer from Marwan’s hut in Sitio Inugug, Barangay (village) Pidsandawan, Mamasapano town.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried on Tuesday to reach the alleged hut of slain terrorist bomber, Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, but was told by residents that the area was no longer the original geographical makeup of Sitio Inugug. It appears that the isolated field where Marwan supposedly hid is a naturally reclaimed area, the usual offshoot of the erratic downstream course of the Kabulnan River that has changed over the years.

Some residents said they only knew that an area about five kilometers north of Pidsandawan proper was “restricted” due to stories of snipers ready to shoot intruders.

Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 118th Base Command, atrocity, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Barangay Libutan, Basit Usman, biff, bloodshed, carnage, Ceasefire, clash, Encounter, gun battle, law enforcement, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, manhunt for terrorists, Marwan, Massacre, massacre of policemen, MILF 105th Base Command, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, News, peace process, Philippine National Police, pursuit operations, Regions, Special Action Force, suspected terrorists, terror suspects, Ustadz Abdulwahid Tundoc, Ustadz Manan, Zacaria Goma, Zulkifli bin Hir
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.