2 Moro groups disown 7 men killed during clash with soldiers
KORONADAL CITY – Two Moro rebel groups on Friday disowned the seven men – including a suspected Indonesian – whom government security forces had killed during a clash in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, on Thursday.
Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, said they have no association with the seven men and that their commander on the ground, Mohamad Jaafar Maguid alias Commander Tokboy, had no participation in the fighting.
“We have forces in Butril but they were not involved in the encounter that happened,” Mama said by phone.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also made a similar statement and even claimed that the operation – conducted by the Marines – had been properly coordinated with it.
Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator, told the Inquirer by phone that the MILF did not know what group the armed men belonged to and who they were.
“We are still in the process of identifying them,” Iqbal said.
Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, confirmed on Friday the identity of the Indonesian national, who was among the fatalities during the four-hour gun battle that started around 5:20 a.m. in the village of Butril.
He identified the Indonesian man as Ibrahim Alih.
“Their bodies were recovered along with an IS flag. One of them was a certain Ibrahim Alih, alias Abdul Fatah and Abu Fattah,” Salamat said.
He also said the 50 men that the Marines had encountered belong to the Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines, a relatively new militant group that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq. Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao
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