MILF hunting down Abus who beheaded Canadian | Inquirer News
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MILF hunting down Abus who beheaded Canadian

/ 12:05 AM May 04, 2016
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Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. AP FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it was helping government forces in tracking down the members of the Abu Sayyaf group who beheaded Canadian hostage John Ridsdel in Sulu.

Ridsdel’s head was found near a police station in Jolo on April 25 while a body, suspected to be his, was recovered in a remote area in Talipao town two days later.

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Sammy Al-Mansour, the MILF military chief, said their men in Sulu had specifically been tasked to determine the exact location of the Abu Sayyaf members behind Ridsdel’s death.

Ridsdel, 68, was one of four people seized from a resort on Samal Island on Sept. 21. The others were Robert Hall, also a Canadian; Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad; and Filipino Maritess Flor.

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“What they did was anti-Islam. We highly condemn it,” Al-Mansour said.

He said that based on the latest information, Ridsdel’s killers were still in Sulu.

“We are helping in tracking down by gathering information. We just need proper coordination. And if government forces have information too, they can pass it to us and we will forward it to our joint forces on the ground,” he said.

This was not the first time the MILF mobilized its forces against the Abu Sayyaf.

Shortly after the May 25, 2013 clash in Sulu that killed seven Marine soldiers, the MILF, which signed a peace deal with the government, also helped government forces locate the bandits, under Radulan Sahiron.

On Feb. 7, 2015, MILF forces actually clashed with Abu Sayyaf bandits they were running after in Basilan. An Abu Sayyaf subleader was killed in the said clash while an MILF member was wounded.

Aside from actually engaging in combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf, Al-Mansour said MILF rebels also cleared the path for operating soldiers.

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Last April 9, Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., the spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, confirmed that MILF forces had stepped aside when government forces entered Barangay Baguindan in Tipo-Tipo to go after Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Brig. Gen. Glenn Macasero of the government’s ceasefire committee said prior coordination was made with Hadji Dan Asnawi, commander of the MILF’s 114th Base Command, and Hamsa Sapanton, commander of the MILF’s Provincial Police Force in Basilan.

“We have implemented this to avoid confrontation between the military and the MILF,” Macasero said.

“We have talked to the base commander, then the MILF CCCH (Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities) to establish and relay the general area of operations, and the men of Hamsa Sapanton of the provincial police force were repositioned, they were relocated from Baguindan to Bohe Piyang,” Macasero said. Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao

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