MILF Mamasapano report: Attack of Moro fighters on SAF men ‘justified’ | Inquirer News
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MILF Mamasapano report: Attack of Moro fighters on SAF men ‘justified’

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 02:14 PM March 24, 2015
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The flat cornfields of Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province, where 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were pinned down and killed on Jan. 25 in clashes with Moro rebels, as seen from a hovering drone. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / REM ZAMORA

MANILA, Philippines—A full report of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) investigation on the January 25 Mamasapano incident showed that the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men by  combatants of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) was justified.

“The BIAF members were justified in fighting back after it was fired upon by the PNP-SAF (Philippine National Police-Special Action Force) in Tukanalipao. Without prior coordination, the BIAF did not know that the forces in Sitio Amilil were government forces with whom there is a holding ceasefire agreement,” the MILF said in its 35-page report submitted to the Senate on Tuesday.

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“When they were fired upon in the wooden bridge of Tukanalipao, the BIAF could not have done anything else but to fire back as two of their men were instantly killed in the assault of the PNP-SAF men,” it said.

The report said that based on interviews from  MILF  elements, the  BIAF members were   trekking   towards Sitio Amilil at around  4:30 a.m.  of  January  25,  2015  when they were  fired  upon by the  PNP-SAF’s  55th  Special Action Company (SAC), killing two of  the  MILF men.

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“It was still dark at this time of day, and the BIAF forces could not distinguish what group had fired (against) them. The 55thSAC was positioned across the 15-meter wide river and was hiding in the cornfield in that part of Sitio Amilil,” the report said.

“While the BIAF could not clearly see whom they were fighting against, they concluded that these were not friendly forces as they had initiated the first shots— shots that were fatal to two of their men.”

“Firing ensued between the two groups. The BIAF members later on construed that the uniformed armed men who attacked them were soldiers of the Philippine Army,” it further said.

As the fighting went on, more BIAF members who are residents of Tukanalipao and of nearby areas come to reinforce their comrades.

“A total of more or less 100 MILF men were eventually engaged on the fighting,” said the report.

“As members of the MILF came to the site of the fighting spontaneously, there was no organized central command that was in charge of the whole engagement,” it said.

The report said the “superior number of MILF forces, familiarity of the terrain, coupled with their high caliber firearms” gave the group “advantage” over the  PNP-SAF men.

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Still, 17 MILF members and three other civilians were killed in the clash.

Among the findings and recommendations of the report are the following:

  1. The MILF should file a protest regarding the violation of the ceasefire by the PNP-SAF.
  2. There should  be investigation to determine the liability of Police Officer  2 Christopher Lalan, who allegedly killed 4 MILF combatants while sleeping  inside a makeshift mosque in Barangay Tukanalipao
  3. The PNP-SAF violated the government and MILF’s ceasefire agreement and the Implementing Guidelines of AHJAG as it did not coordinate the operations through the established protocols of the  ceasefire mechanisms.
  4. The PNP-SAF committed human rights violations, citing Lalan’s killing of four MILF combatants.

Lalan was one of the survivors in the Mamasapano operation that left 44 SAF men dead.

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MILF submits full report on Mamasapano incident to Senate

MILF seeks justice for 18 fighters, 5 civilians killed in Mamasapano clash

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, BIAF, full report, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, MILF, Mohagher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Oplan Exodus, SAF, Special Action Force
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