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MILF not opposing martial law, urges gov’t to prevent spread of fighting

/ 01:02 PM May 25, 2017
MESSAGE FROM KL  MILF chair Murad Ebrahim speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.  Behind him  is Malaysian facilitator Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed. AP

MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim. AP

COTABATO CITY – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is not opposing nor endorsing the martial law declaration of President Duterte but it appealed to the Philippine government to ensure that law enforcement operations against perpetrators of the Marawi siege would not spark fighting in other areas.

In a statement issued by MILF chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the MILF asked the national government to ensure that its ceasefire mechanism with the MILF would remain enforced to the letter.

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Murad asked the Duterte administration “to ensure that the ceasefire mechanisms continue to work on the ground, and that any military operation against the Maute Group that perpetrated the violence in Marawi does not spark more fighting in other areas.”

Murad said the government “should still respect the mechanisms that have proven to be effective in scaling down armed encounters between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).” The BIAF is the army of the MILF.

In the same statement, the MILF central committee strongly condemned the Marawi siege by groups “whose only aim is to sow terror.”

“There is no justification for launching an offensive against civilian populace and to destroy infrastructures and institutions serving the public,” Ebrahim said.

The MILF chieftain said his group has been working with its counterparts in the government to find ways on how best to address the challenge posed by the violence committed in Marawi by groups which have chosen to take violence without regard to the best interest of our people.

“Now more than ever, the MILF and the government must work closely to ensure the protection of the gains of the peace process, and to even forge with greater resolve, to immediately implement the peace agreement so that no other groups may use its non-implementation to justify their continued pursuit of violence for violence’s sake,” he added.

The MILF leader has said his group, as an organization promoting the welfare of Bangsamoro people, stands in solidarity with the people of Marawi and Lanao del Sur during this tragic day.

“We call on our forces to extend all necessary assistance to the people of Marawi to ensure their safety and frustrate the aim of any group or groups to sow divide in our communities. Let us all stand united to win peace for our people,” Murad said.  SFM/rga

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Acts of terror, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bombing, clash, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Counter-terrorism, Defense, Encounter, gun attacks, gun battle, Law and Order, law enforcement, manhunt for terrorists, Marawi City, Marawi City attacks, Martial law, Maute group, Military operations, Mindanao martial law, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, peace, Peace agreement, peace process, Philippine Government, Philippine National Police, public order and safety, Public safety, pursuit operations, Safety, Security, terror attacks
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