MILF tells fighters: Give way to gov’t troops hunting down BIFF | Inquirer News
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MILF tells fighters: Give way to gov’t troops hunting down BIFF

Moro rebel group also pledges to help AFP locate Usman
/ 06:46 PM February 26, 2015

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday told its fighters to stay away from the military’s all-out offensive against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the group’s chair, Ebrahim Murad, relayed his directive to all field commanders after Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. ordered an all-out offensive against the BIFF, which was also involved in the clash that killed 44 Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last month.

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“The directive is clear—for our men to stay aside and give way to the military’s operation,” Iqbal said.

“Our only concern and appeal to the military is to ensure the safety of the civilians,” he added.

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Iqbal said the government’s coordinating committee on cessation of hostilities coordinated with them through their counterpart the all-out-offensive.

Iqbal expressed confidence the military action would not affect their men on the ground.

At the same time, Iqbal assured the Philippine government the MILF would help the military by providing information about the whereabouts of Jemaah Islamiyah bomb expert Basit Usman.

Usman managed to escape when SAF commandos arrived in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, for a law enforcement operation against Zulkifli bin Hir, the Malaysian bomb terrorist known as Marwan.

Marwan was killed in that operation.

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

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TAGS: 6th Infantry Division, Armed conflict, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Basit Usman, Ceasefire, civilians caught in crossfire, coordination, counter-insurgency operations, Ebrahim Murad, Evacuation, Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., Insurgency, Jo-Ann Petinglay, law enforcement, Maguindanao, manhunt for terrorists, Military, Military operations, Mohagher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, News Regions, North Cotabato, Pagalungan, peace process, Philippine Army, Pikit, pursuit operations, rebellion, troop deployment, troop reinforcement
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