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MNLF worried over claim that gov’t paid MILF for SAF guns

/ 11:01 AM February 24, 2015
Eliseo Mercado

Screengrab of Fr. Eliseo Mercado’s Facebook post on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, describing the source of his claim that the government paid for the SAF guns returned by the MILF.

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has said it is worried over the claims made by Catholic priest Eliseo Mercado that the government paid the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the return of 16 of the firearms seized from the slain elite policemen in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

MNLF chair Muslimin Sema said Mercado’s statement might trigger animosity between his group and the MILF.

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Sema issued the statement even as Mercado, a known peace advocate in Mindanao, boosted the credibility of his MNLF source on his Facebook account.

“My MNLF informant is highly placed in Central Maguindanao and close kin of the field commanders both of the 105th Base Command and the 118th Base Command of MILF… He is also a close kin to BIFF Leadership,” Mercado said.

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The priest added, “He also is a close kin of the victims in Mamasapano. He is [an] A1 informant that even former President asks him for briefing of the realities and situation in Maguindanao.”

‘P190,00 for each firearm’

Earlier, Mercado also posted on his Facebook account that “a respected MNLF leader” was the source of his information that the government paid P190,000 for each of the 16 firearms returned by the MILF.

He made the same claim in radio and television interviews here.

“He should identify the official,” Sema said in order that “we can really ferret out the truth.”

“We don’t want to be construed as instigating intrigues that can cause animosity between the MILF and the MNLF,” he said, adding that his group was not at war with both the government and the MILF.

Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator in the peace process with the government, admitted that Mercado’s statement had affected the MILF’s efforts to restore confidence following the Mamasapano carnage.

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“As a friend, I did not expect him to issue such statements without even informing us or consulting us about the alleged pay off before making public,” Iqbal said in Filipino.

“I vehemently deny the MILF received amount in exchange for the return of SAF (Special Action Force) firearms,” he added.

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TAGS: Armed conflict, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Basit Usman, biff, bloodshed, carnage, clash, covert operations, Crime, Eliseo Mercado, Encounter, exposé, Firearms, government firearms, gun battle, high powered firearms, Insurgency, Justice, law, law enforcement, looting, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, Mamasapano mission, manhunt for terrorists, Marwan, Massacre, massacre of policemen, MILF, Mohaqher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, multiple murder, Murder, Muslimin Sema, News, Philippine National Police, pursuit operations, rebellion, Regions, robbery, Special Action Force, Zulkifli bin Hir
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