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Tension between Army troops, MILF defused in Lanao del Norte

Commander Bravo and men agreed to cancel visit to old MILF camp in Kauswagan town -- MILF
/ 08:36 PM February 03, 2016

COTABATO CITY – The tension between soldiers and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces in Lanao del Norte has been defused and the situation has gone back to normal, an MILF official said Wednesday.

Toks Ibrahim, head of the MILF’s normalization secretariat, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone that the tension subsided when Commander Abdullah Macapaar, also known as Bravo, agreed to pull out from Kauswagan town following negotiations.

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Ibrahim said the tension started when Bravo wanted to visit his old camp in Kauswagan after attending an event in connection with the normalization process on Monday.

The event was properly coordinated with the government but not Macapaar’s visit.

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Since the planned visit was not coordinated, soldiers from the 15th Infantry Battalion and 2nd Mechanized Brigade based in Kauswagan positioned themselves on Macapaar’s route to the old MILF camp in Barangay Delabayan.

“This caused tension. It (the planned visit to old camp) was not covered by the prior coordination made with the military,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim said Macapaar eventually agreed to move out of Kauswagan and to coordinate any visit to the old MILF camp in the future.

Von Al Haq, MILF spokesperson, said members of the MILF’s ceasefire committee talked with Macapaar and made him understand he had to back out unless he properly coordinated any visit.

Macapaar was among MILF commanders, who led a string of deadly attacks in Mindanao when the government dilly-dallied on the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain in 2008.

Fears about renewed attacks by his group largely fueled Monday’s tension in Kauswagan as his presence in the town came after Congress refused to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

But MILF leaders said Macapaar’s unplanned visit had nothing to do with the BBL, as Macapaar only wanted to visit the village, where he was born and where he grew up.  SFM

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TAGS: 15th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Mechanized Brigade, Abdullah Macapaar, Armed conflict, Ceasefire, Commander Bravo, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Conflict, coordination, Insurgency, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, MILF, Military, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, news, old MILF camps, Peace agreement, peace negotiation, peace process, Philippine Army, rebellion, Regions, standoff, tension, Toks Ibrahim, Von Al Haq
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