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MILF ‘concerned’ with arrests of fighters despite talks

/ 11:49 AM April 28, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte; Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman forpolitical affairs and Atty. Randolf Parcasio of the MNLF talks during the MindanaoHariraya Eid'l Fitr in Davao City on Friday. PPD/Rene B. Lumawag

In this July 11, 2016 file photo, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte; Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs; and lawyer Randolf Parcasio of the MNLF talk during the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fitr in Davao City. PPD/Rene B. Lumawag

COTABATO CITY – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it has become increasingly concerned with police and military operations targeting its men despite peace negotiations with the government.

Sammy Al Mansour,  chief of staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), said the operations “cast a shadow of doubt” on the peace process and could actually develop into a more serious trouble.

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“When coordination mechanisms were faithfully observed, peace and order was maintained on the ground. If not, as in the case of the Mamasapano encounter, armed clashes eventually happened and put at risk the gains of the peace process”, Al Mansosur said.

The rebel official issued the statement following Monday’s storming of the police station in Parang, Maguindanao by armed MILF rebels.

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Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, the Maguindanao police director, said the MILF rebels arrived on motorbikes at the Parang police station around 10:30 a.m. and demanded the release of their 59-year-old commander, Sulayman Dimatunday.

Dimatunday was arrested at a checkpoint after he yielded an unlicensed .45-pistol.

“We did not fire our guns because we respect the peace process with them,” Tello said of the arrival of the rebels.

He said tension eventually subsided when Dimatunday asked his men to leave.

Al Mansour said incidents such as Dimatunday’s arrest should have been brought to the attention of the peace panels but authorities did not.

He also cited the April 11 killing of Mohaimen Abo, also known as “Boy Bangsamoro,” the younger brother of MILF vice chair Ghadzali Jaafar.

Abo was killed during a police operation in Barangay Linangcob in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao when authorities claimed he violently resisted while being served warrants for murder, robbery, frustrated murder, kidnapping for ransom and kidnapping with homicide.

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Jaafar, also chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), condemned the operation, stressing his brother was a bonafide member of the MILF’s military wing – Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF)

Jaafar also said then that there was a mechanism in law enforcement against MILF members as stated in the ceasefire agreement of the Philippine government and the MILF.

Jaafar was referring to the GPH-MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (ADHJAG) of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.

The police did not coordinate with the CCCH and ADJAG, Jaafar said.

The MILF also previously protested the arrest of its members on various charges such as the July 2015 arrest of eight MILF members for illegal possession of firearms in Marawi City.

In April 2014, MILF rebels set free their relatives arrested for illegal possession of firearms, also in Marawi City.

Under the signed agreements, the MILF was to decommission its forces as part of the transition to the Bangsamoro entity.

While they were allowed to possess firearms within their camps during the transition period, MILF rebels should not bring their weapons outside or display them in public.  SFM/rga

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TAGS: Armed conflict, arrest, attacks on police facilities, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, Boy Bangsamoro, Ceasefire, Crime, death of a crime suspect, frustrated murder, Ghadzali Jaafar, Illegal possession of firearms, Insurgency, Justice, kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping with homicide, law, law enforcement, Maguindanao, Maguindanao Provincial Police, Mamasapano clash, Mohaimen Abo, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, Murder, Parang municipality, peace, peace process, Philippine Government, protest, rebellion, resisting arrest, robbery, Sammy Al-Mansour, Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Shootout, Sulayman Dimatunday, warrant of arrest
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