First no gunfire Eid celebration in Mindanao

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Despite fears among residents of Cotabato Ciy, for the first time in historu no gunfire has been reported during the eve and Friday’s celebration of Eid Al Fitr in Region 12 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

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Region 12 and ARMM, where known to be the country’s bulk of loose firearms abound, have marked by Government authorities and even journalists as “miracle”.

Peace stakeholders lauded police, military and even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from banning the act of indiscriminate firing of guns Thursday and Friday in the two regions.

Chief Superintendents Charles Calima and Noel Delos Reyes, regional police directors of Region XII and ARMM, respectively, had ordered all their respective troops’ firearm barrels sealed with tapes before and during the celebration of this Eid. They warned of disciplinary action including suspension or dismissal from service against violator troops.

The two Moro revolutionary groups also prohibited their members from firing guns during the Eid celebration—the end of the Ramadhan fasting.

“It has been long time since we have prohibited our members from firing guns, we have sanctions to violators.” MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar said in Pilipino over a radio station here.

Both ARMM and Region XII regions, where MILF and MNLF territories were maintained, tagged by authorities for having the lost number of loose firearms in the country.

The never-ending armed clashes and the Aug. 5 and 7 bombings in Cotabato City and the two provinces have heightened tension in the two regions.

Given the problems on peace and order and floods, gunfire for the Eid’l Fitr would be irrelevant, majority sectors here said. MOH I. SAADUDDIN

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