New Moro rebel group took part in Mamasapano clash – Iqbal
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Philippines – A new group of Moro insurgents was allegedly involved in the tragic Mamasapano clash and this group emerged from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Mohagher Iqbal, the chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), took everyone by surprise here when he said that a third Moro armed group, led by Muhammad Ali Tambako, took part in the clash of January 25.
“It is public knowledge that the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) broke into three groups: The group of Ameril Umra Kato, the one of Kagui Karialan, and the group of Muhammad Ali Tambako … But now, Tambako has formed another group, and its name is something like “justice,” basta merong “justice” yan (one that has the word “justice” in it),” Iqbal told reporters following the turnover of 16 firearms that MILF members had seized from slain members of the Special Action Force.
Reached for comment, Abu Misri Mama, the spokesperson of the BIFF, did not confirm the splitting of the BIFF into three groups.
He said that Tambako’s group, made up of former BIFF members, came to being after Tambako met with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari in Sulu in October 2013.
Mama said the BIFF leadership was against any meeting with Misuari.
He said Tambako has since named his splinter armed group the United Justice Movement (UJM).
Tambako is materially well-off, according to some people who know him in the local Muslim religious sector. Tambako had studied in Jamiatun (University of) Malik Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is why he is addressed as “Ustadz,” according to people who know him.
Police sources said Tambako’s name was not new to them and that they had gotten hold of arrest warrants against him, in connection with his role in 2008 bloody attacks in Maguindanao and North Cotabato over the botched memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain.
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