MILF rebels storm police headquarters

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: About 50 heavily armed members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stormed a police station in the southern city of Marawi and shot one person before releasing two of their detained members and seizing the police chief in a daring pre-dawn raid on Friday.

The MILF members stormed the police station near the coastal village of West Marinaud and shot the brother-in-law of police chief Christopher Panapan and disarmed a small number of officers before taking over the compound.

The rebels then sprang MILF fighters Johanne Cader and Mesron Borodan who were earlier arrested by the police for illegal possession of firearms. The rebels escaped, tagging along Panapan, to the coastline about 150 meters away where two speedboats were waiting.

The MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group currently negotiating peace with the Aquino administration, has admitted the assault as government said steps are being taken to secure the safe release of the police chief.


A rebel spokesman told The Manila Times that the MILF has repeatedly demanded the release of Cader and Borodon who were illegally arrested by the Marawi police, but authorities refused to free the two men, who are covered by the cease-fire agreement between the MILF and the Aquino government.

The MILF has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Panapan and threatened to launch an assault to rescue the prisoner despite the truce.

The raid occurred just as MILF and Philippine peace negotiators re-sumed delayed talks in Kuala Lumpur after both sides failed to sign any substantial agreement in September.

But it was not immediately known whether the raid or threats of military assault on MILF forces would have an effect on the peace talks.

Previous skirmishes between rebels and security forces in the restive region had grounded the negotiations aimed at ending decades of bloody fighting in the country’s restive South.

Last year, the peace panels signed the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement that would have paved the way for the Muslim homeland.

Under the accord, the Bangsamoro government would take a ministerial form, where members of the legislature who would be elected by the people and in return they would elect a chief minister among themselves.

Negotiators are still locked on how to go about the power-sharing which represents the heart of the peace negotiations since it contains the list of powers reserved for the central government, powers exclusive to the envisioned Bangsamoro government, and concurrent or shared powers between the two. Any delay in the peace talks would impede the working timeline of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the body tasked to draft the Basic Law.

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1 Comment

  1. Why does the government continue to negotiate with these muslim rebels whom, history shows, can never be trusted. Anywhere one goes where there’s muslims, it’s guaranteed there’s trouble. That’s just a fact. The government should have never negotiated with these evildoers and instead wiped them out!!