• MILF fighters aided Abu Sayyaf – military

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    Malacañang is yet to begin reviewing the draft of the law that seeks to establish peace through a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, but some kinks have emerged as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly aided Abu Sayyaf rebels in engaging soldiers in fierce clashes last week in Basilan.

    Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista confirmed that MILF members and Abu Sayyaf rebels fought side by side against the military. Two soldiers and 10 rebels were killed in the encounters in the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan. Reports said 29 soldiers were also injured.

    The MILF on Tuesday admitted that four of those slain were its members. The group denounced the killing, which happened just two weeks after the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed to end the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.

    Bautista clarified that the decision of the MILF fighters to join the Abu Sayyaf was not made by the MILF leadership.

    “It was not the MILF per se but only individual members because they are relatives [of some Abu Sayyaf members]. We are in touch with the MILF,” he told reporters.

    Still, Bautista said the MILF members who fought alongside the Abu Sayyaf rebels are also criminally liable and “the MILF should deal with them.”

    He added that military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) will continue.

    The ASG is behind kidnap-for ransom and extortion activities in the South. It was classified as a terrorist group by the United States Department of State.

    The clash between members of the 104th Infantry Brigade and the combined force of the ASG and MILF took place on Thursday in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. It was followed by two days of sporadic fighting.

    Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the group engaged by the military was led by ASG Commander Fujuri Indama, one those responsible in the July 10, 2007 ambush of a military convoy also in Tipo-Tipo that left 14 Marine soldiers dead, 10 of them beheaded.

    Fierce fighting erupted last Friday after troops stormed an Abu Sayyaf lair and clashed with about 60 militants.

    “We were running after the ASG, and we told the MILF through our mechanisms that we are going to launch enforcement operations and they supported that. They have members in some areas where they [MILF] have no control, and these members have relatives who are Abu Sayyaf [members][and]they probably joined [the fighting]in their individual capacity, not as MILF [as an organization], as relatives. The Armed Forces and the MILF are talking, so it’s very clear,” Bautista also told reporters while visiting wounded troops in Zamboanga City.

    He defended the MILF, saying the country’s largest Muslim rebel group had no participation in the clashes.

    “We have an agreement with the MILF and it is working and we are talking with their commanders during the operations and they support our operations. We know that the MILF is an irregular force, sometimes a member will have a relative who is a member of the ASG,” Bautista said.

    Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said they are verifying reports that as many as 32 rebels were killed and wounded in the fighting.

    “All these [reports]came from the ground,” Tutaan also told The Manila Times.

    Despite the massive military assault, the militants escaped, but the military said operations against the Abu Sayyaf will not stop.

    The Army said the offensive targeted Abu Sayyaf leaders Puruji Indama, Nurhasan Jamiri and Isnilon Hapilon, but there were no reports whether they had been killed. Some 200 soldiers had taken part in the offensive.

    ‘Martyred’
    But the MILF also on Tuesday said four of its fighters were slain in the Basilan clashes.

    “Four of our members were martyred,” MILF Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar also told reporters.

    The MILF has asked an international committee monitoring a ceasefire between the Philippines and the rebel group to investigate who was to blame for Friday’s violence, Jaafar said.

    The fighting broke out two weeks after the MILF signed a political settlement to end more than four decades of an armed conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the mainly Catholic nation’s Muslim South.

    The peace deal aims to create an autonomous Muslim area in Mindanao by early next year, with the MILF expected to disarm and put up candidates for a regional parliament in May 2016.

    Jaafar said the government and the MILF are currently enjoying a “honeymoon.”

    “We do not want this agreement to be disturbed by such unwanted incidents initiated by the military,” he added.

    With AFP

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    8 Comments

    1. Gabriel Montana on

      Christianity, Islam and Judaism and prolly other major religions are to be blamed for continued killings by misguided fanatics in the name their faith, politics, power and money.

      Peace is a wonderful concept. Start it at home.

    2. What kind of a military general is that?Asking the enemy for permission to reinforce his beleaguered men.If China attacks us he might try to get permission from Beijing to defend the country.He better flee to the US now.

    3. it only shows that Abu Sayyaf and MILF are allies…ano pa silbi ng peace agreement….nagbubulagbulagan si Gen Bautista at Tutaan…bakit kailangang tawaging martyr ang 4 na MILF members….

    4. Late night or early morning, “the voice” are you now, patriot with million dollar legs vagrant, you surprisingly stormed Mindanao and stashed 10 pinoys into the boat of the Chinese because you are having difficulty to handle your failures and embarassments and you pretend by resorting to violently storming Mindanao because you are having a hard time really killing the right one and with pretension consolacion prize you snatch the people in Mindanao but honest to goodness you’ re more trash than they are, the consolacion prize mentality. If the missings are the Mindanao, for sure the Chinese are the perpetrators, consolacion prize, but if it’s the Arabs, or Iraqi missings, goddamit it must be the Americans. And if some French got killed it must be some Pilipinos. Why not Aglipay, can’t beat him?

    5. apolonio reyes on

      MILF rebels who joined the Abu Sayyaf group of bandits were called ” martyred ” by Ghazali Jaafar, what then Ghazali Jaafar call the two Philippine Soldier who died fighting the bandits “INFIDELS”. What does Pnoy says about this fighting and Killings, Just like an ordinary killings done by Riding in Tandem, Yun-Yun Eh !

      • Willie Enriquez on

        Muslim called it Martyred when one died in defense of Someone being attacked or slaughtered by a Superior Forces. In the Jungle of Basilan its not maybe easily to Identify the Foes in the front lines. Using Element of Surprise in the Assault has the advantaged for the Military Operation at all times. With the Collateral Damaged for sure are those Innocent Civilian or Families members of the ASG presumably as the case per se.In combat action or Hot Pursuit of a lawless element in the region.No matter what the bloodshed between this Good Forces like our Military who are just performing their duties too. Fearfully and Knowingly that bullets never recognizes anyone in Combat. Our Soldiers are fighting Gallantly in a unfamiliar terrain beyond the thirst of running for survival and the will to survive against enemy fire. There are times even the tough men of all will cry and remember the loving arms of the mothers in the final hour on earth. Lets just hope all brothers will find and everlasting peace and understand the role of Soldiers in the wars against those lawless element in the region. Yet war shock on Soldiers are the face of Brutalities they have encountered. And those carnaged by beheading our Soldiers perhaps the result of the pain that was also Inflicted against those Jihadist or whatever nom de guerre. Muslim and Christian should try their best to understand we Filipinos are all Brothers.