MILF disowns ISIS supporters fighting Army

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MARAWI CITY: Abdullah Macapaar alias Bravo, commander of Northeastern-Western fronts of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has disowned militants that are fighting government forces in Lanao del Sur.

Citing the military, the Philippine News Agency reported earlier that 45 people, including 42 terrorists, were killed while 11 others were wounded as the government forces overran the militant’s stronghold in Lanao del Sur.

Reports reaching the military’s headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City (Metro Manila) on Sunday placed the number of displaced people at about 2,500.

Macapaar was denying reports that the MILF, which signed peace agreements with the government, were involved in the recent attacks against the Philippine military and that he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh.


He said the militants the military were engaging are members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM) also calling themselves locally as ISIS. Macapaar said his forces remained at “defensive position” and the signed peace agreements with the government were still active despite non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress.

The MILF and the Philippine government have binding agreements for the peace process such as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014 and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2012.

Macapaar, however, did not discount the possibility that some of their members may had joined the KIM’s fight, but said that doesn’t speak for the whole organization.

“There are members of the MILF out there that are related to the other mujahideen [the KIM], and we cannot stop them on that [joining the fight],” he said citing Maranao traditions called “Kambangsa” [blood-relation] and “Maratabat” [pride].”

The KIM were fighting under the black banner of ISIS and not with the green flag of the MILF, he said.

“I did not pledge my loyalty to the ISIS’s caliph and the leader I am following no other than [Ebrahim] Murad and not al-Baghdadi [the self-proclaimed caliph of the ISIS Abu Baker al-Baghdadi],” Macapaar said.

He said the MILF forces remained committed to the peace agreements.

At first, Macapaar was invited, through a recent meeting with radical clerics headed by a certain Jamil Yahya, to join the KIM forces, but he declined after consulting with majority of Muslim clerics in the province.

Yahya was claiming Macapaar had joined their forces after performing a “baiah” or pledge of allegiance” to the ISIS, but Macapaar said the oath taking was conducted at the commander’s office without his knowledge.

“We staged a prayer for the supposed starting program of the gathering but it turned out to be a baiah to the ISIS,” Macapaar said.

He said MILF forces in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte were ordered to stand down and not to get involved in the fight of the KIM or ISIS.

Meanwhile, the military vowed to overrun the radical group, which it described as a “Foreign and Local Terrorist Organization.”

Displaced people
The internally displaced persons or IDPS, according to Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, are in now evacuation centers and are being assisted by different government agencies and local government units.

Padilla said the military will not allow the displaced residents, numbering about 2,500, to go back to their respected houses as sporadic fighting continues.

“We will not allow the residents to return until such time that we clear the area so that the people would be safe because the clearing encompasses checking the whole place for explosives, unexploded ordnance, booby traps if there are any,” he added.

Malacañang has assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development will assist communities affected by the ongoing military operations in Lanao del Sur.

MOH SAADUDDIN WITH REPORTS FROM FERNAN MARASIGAN AND PNA

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2 Comments

  1. Then milf should help by fighting Isis themselves and provide afp with intelligence and locations of these terrorists and not all talk.

  2. Then mild should help by fighting Isis themselves and provide afp with intelligence and locations if these terrorists and not all talk.