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MILF refuses to surrender men involved in Mamasapano carnage

/ 07:00 PM February 22, 2015
iqbal

Mohagher Iqbal. FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Sunday rejected calls to surrender its men who participated in the January 25 fighting in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that resulted in the deaths of 44 police commandos who carried out a mission to get Malaysian bomb terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the ceasefire agreement it signed with the government stated the organization would be the one to impose disciplinary actions against its members involved in any violation just like the encounter in Barangay (village) Tukanalipao.

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“We will follow what we have agreed with them in the ceasefire mechanism,” Iqbal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

He said the same policy would be implemented by the government in punishing security forces found to have violated the provision of their truce.

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Iqbal said even their gesture of returning the 16 assorted firearms of slain Philippine National Police Special Action Force members was difficult to do.

“It’s hard to convince them (MILF members) because what happened there was a legitimate encounter and we also lost men,” he said.

Aside from the 44 policemen, at least 18 rebels and five civilians were also killed in the fighting.

The government said the police’s Special Action Forces also killed Zulkifli, who had a $5-million bounty by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Zulkifli’s companion, Filipino bomb expert Basit Usman, however, escaped.

The Philippine National Police officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, earlier said the return of firearms was not enough to show the rebels’ sincerity.

He said the MILF should also surrender its members who were responsible for the death of 44 police commandos.

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TAGS: Armed conflict, Basit Usman, bloodshed, carnage, Ceasefire, clash, disciplinary action, Encounter, Firearms, government firearms, gun battle, high powered firearms, Insurgency, law enforcement, looting, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, manhunt for terrorists, Marwan, Massacre, massacre of policemen, Mohagher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, News, peace process, Philippine Government, Philippine National Police, pursuit operations, rebellion, Regions, robbery, Special Action Force, surrender, Zulkifli bin Hir
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