• MILF: Killing of SAF men ‘justified’

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    The killing of the 44 Special Action Force troops in the Mamasapano incident was “justified.”

    The full report of the Special Investigation Committee (SIC) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) made this conclusion in the 38-page report it submitted to the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) last Sunday.

    “The BIAF members were justified in fighting back after [they were]fired upon by the PNP-SAF (Philippine National Police-Special Action Force) in [Barangay] Tukanalipao. Without prior coordination, the BIAF did not know that the forces in Sitio Amilil were government forces with whom there is a holding ceasefire agreement,” the report said.

    “When they were fired upon in the wooden bridge of Tukanalipao, the BIAF [members]could not have done anything else but to fire back as two of their men were instantly killed in the assault of the PNP-SAF men,” it added.

    The BIAF refers to the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the “military” wing of the MILF.

    The MILF distributed a copy of the report to the media, including The Manila Times, on Monday or a few hours after it was received by the IMT in Cotabato City.

    The report was embargoed on Tuesday at the request of the MILF as it did not want to preempt the submission of a copy to the Senate through Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

    A joint Senate panel as well as the Board of Inquiry created by the PNP also probed the January 25 incident in Maguindanao.

    The IMT was created to monitor a ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.

    Supported by the United States and the European Union, it is composed of representatives from Japan, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

    The MILF-SIC blamed the national police for the incident, saying the SAF mission to capture international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman violated the peace agreement as the mission was not coordinated with them.

    Marwan was killed in the clash while Usman managed to slip out.

    The report said MILF-BIAF fighters were going to Sitio Amilil around 4:30 a.m. of January 25, 2015 when members of the 55th Special Action Company (55th SAC) of the PNP Special Action Force allegedly fired at them.

    Two MILF fighters were killed in the first encounter, the report said.

    Fifteen more MILF fighters and at least three civilians were killed in the fighting.

    “It was still dark at this time of day, and the BIAF forces could not distinguish what group had fired at them. The 55th SAC was positioned across the 15-meter wide river and was hiding in the cornfield in that part of Sitio Amilil,” the report, quoting MILF witnesses. said.

    “While the BIAF could not clearly see whom they were fighting against, they concluded that these were not friendly forces as they had initiated the first shots–shots that were fatal to two of their men.

    “Firing ensued between the two groups. The BIAF members later on construed that the uniformed armed men who attacked them were soldiers of the Philippine Army,” it added.

    The gunbattle prompted MILF-BIAF fighters who were living in the area to come to the aid of their beleaguered comrades.

    “A total of more or less 100 MILF men were eventually engaged in the fighting,” the report said.

    “As members of the MILF came to the site of the fighting spontaneously, there was no organized central command that was in charge of the whole engagement.

    “[The] superior number of MILF forces, familiarity [with]the terrain, coupled with their high-caliber firearms [gave them the advantage over the SAF troops].

    The MILF submitted a copy of its report to Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, which had held hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in abeyance pending the submission of the group’s findings.

    “We trust that this report is treated with fairness and we hope that all the information provided therein will be helpful in your evaluation of the incident,” said Mohagher Iqbal, vice chairman and chief negotiator of the MILF, in a letter to Marcos.

    The PNP’s spokesman, meanwhile, said they are willing to investigate a claim in the MILF-SIC report that some of the slain SAF police commandos had used the dead bodies of their colleagues as shields during the fighting.

    “The PNP-BOI has not mentioned anything about the dead SAF having been used as shields. We have no comment on that for now through we are ready to be investigated on that issue. The same with the alleged failure of the SAF to coordinate. We are open to outside probe to clear these things out,” Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo told The Manila Times.

    Reacting to Cerbo’s statement, a police official criticized the PNP spokesman for not taking up the cudgels for their fallen comrades.

    “What investigation is he talking about? Sino iimbestigahan, ang PNP [Who will be investigated, the PNP]? Ang PNP na nga nalagasan, sila pa ang iimbestigahan [It was the PNP that lost some of its men, yet it will be the one to be investigated]? The trouble with Cerbo is he is toeing the line of Malacanang,” the official told The Times.

    The official, who requested anonymity as he is not authorized to speak on the matter, described the MILF report as “self-serving” even as he said that no ceasefire violation was committed.

    “The SAF troops have warrants to arrest Marwan and Usman, they are high-value targets. So what coordination is the MILF is talking about?” he said.

    The official also debunked claims that dead bodies were used as shields, saying medico-legal findings showed otherwise. “These are scientific findings. The medico-legal results revealed that they were shot at close range. The bullet-proof vests they were wearing were taken off before they were shot at close range,” he pointed out.

    Military officials declined to comment on the MILF report.

    “We will refer this issue to the OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] which handles the peace process with the MILF,” Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Public Affairs Office, said.

    WITH AL JACINTO, FERNAN MARASIGAN AND JOEL M. SY EGCO

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    12 Comments

    1. Of course these moron will try everything to justified their action. But the question is why is Marwan hiding in their territory? Now they again has an answer about Marwan . But reasoning like that is full of holes. No one buy their ideas except themselves. Useless to even read their alibi. They are just fooling themselves that we will believe their story line. LESSON ” DONT DEAL AND TALK WITH TERRORISTS”

      • ernesto albay on

        You are right ” DONT DEAL AND TALK WITH TERRORISTS” and who gave them that they own that territory. Who are those goverment OFFICIALS tolerating their activities. No one will ever prosper if these OFFICIALS do their job properly.

    2. The specious attempt of the report of MILF to cover-up their treachery in murdering the civilian law enforcers of the Republic of the Philippines, is appallingly beyond comprehensible.

      First, to say that they were fired upon by the law enforcers, does not warrant MILF/BIFF to annihilate the entire troop, after they had signified their intent to surrender. If, in fact these rogue Moro elements, where there to secure the area, and had been fired upon, they would have called out to claim and identify themselves that they are friendly force, and would negotiate for a surrender. By, attacking duly recognized law enforcement agency of the republic, MILF/BIFF actions signify just one thing – and that is they are lawless elements of the society.

      A peace treaty, does not automatically render the Moro rebels to be a sovereign power, that could rule over a territory that is part of a sovereign state, the treaty will give both parties the needed time to settle disputes and negotiate on creating a lasting peace, but that area should and must remain under the rule of law and the constitution of the republic.

      BBL, is yet to be debated upon by congress, as such it has not yet been approved and therefore, the claim of MILF being a quasi-state, is moot. Now, just to make the encounter look legitimate, MILF has created yet a new entity, by forming their own army the BIAF. Therefore, looking into the mindset of Catapang, for him not to question MILF of having an independent army, shows that he has all but given up of our sovereignty. How, dare this man-of-war, just stand by the side and let Murad and Iqbal roll over him and not give them hell?

      Murad and Iqbal are both arrogant, and if the Philippines government give in to their whims, they will use this for their own propaganda, that with such a small force they can do as they please with the government, and demand for more.

      The fight for justice of the murdered SAF troopers, have to be raised and brought to Hague’s war tribunal, for the action done by MILF(BIAF)/BIFF is an act of war, and their leaders including our government leaders, who mishandled the whole affair, should be made to face their crime against humanity.

    3. This show that the MILF doesnt want peace,only one option left allout war to the finish no more ceasefire and peacetalk.Abolish autonomous regions only one authority.

    4. Highly trained SAF do not fire indiscriminately on any citizens or trained terrorist unless provoked. Was it justifiable walking up to wounded policemen and shooting them in the head a close range. As we have repeatedly seen from Islamic Radicals their twisted form of religion justifies killing infidels women child and our Philippine Police force when ever they wish and believe it is justifiable. Like the IS soldiers these psychotic individuals have delusion of grandeur that they are better then everyone else. The invent their own version of the Koran instead of the real readings which states Muslims should live in peace.

    5. Sharon Catlin on

      Well, there you go. MILF unrepentantly admits to war crimes and mass murder. What will they do when they rule Mindanao? I think a good predictor would be to look at the nightly news and see what Islamic terrorists do in the areas they control in other parts of the world every day. Comming soon to Mindanao. Please God, no to BBL, I pray for my family still living there.

    6. chthonic monster on

      no problem! return the favour and proclaim it “justified”! “an eye for an eye” the only language that these MotherF*****s will ever understand!

    7. sonny dela cruz on

      The widows and relatives of the massacre 44SAF policemen may file the case of MURDER against MURAD & IQBAL if any concern lawyers or politician will help them to get justice for the death of their love ones.

    8. sonny dela cruz on

      How come the Dept. of Justice has not file criminal case of MURDER against MURAD & IQBAL against the massacre of the 44 SAF policemen when they went to Mamasapano to arrest the two bombers. MURAD & IQBAL are Filipino citizen and they are bound to Philippine laws. They are the head or Chairman of the MILF and they are accountable for the death of the arresting policemen. Mamasapano is in the Philippine soil where it happened, now if they said they are rebels still they have to be arrested as what the government are doing with the NPA. The government should serve warrant of arrest to these two idiots trying to blackmail the Philippine government and the Filipino people of 500 trillion pesos for their bogus slogan of peace. Please be transparent, they violated the law, then they should be arrested. PLEASE RESPECT THE LAW AND NOT THE BOGUS PEACE TREATY WITH THE MILF.

      • Pinagdududahan kung Pinoy sina Murad, Jaffar at Iqbal. Ang lumalabas ay Malaysian passport ang ginagamit nila.

      • sonny dela cruz on

        The Philippine government is so weak, kung sa USA nangyari yan ay tapos na ang boksing. Si Murad at Iqbal ay nasa kulungan na at ang mga miembro ng MILF ay uubusin ng mga Marines.