• ‘Observe protocols on police actions vs rebels, MILF’

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    SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has enjoined the government to observe security protocols or the 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities concerning police actions against rebels.

    It also urged the government to investigate allegedly unilateral police actions against the rebels supposedly covered by security protocols forged by the government and the MILF.

    The calls were made after the 1-Bangsamoro Movement (1-Bangsa), a Moro civil society organization, condemned the killing of Ustadz Mohaimen Abo, younger brother of MILF first Vice Chairman Gadzali Jaafar.

    The MILF hierarchy is concerned about the killing of Abo, charged with kidnap-for-ransom, murder, frustrated murder and homicide in Central Mindanao.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP), however, said it was a legitimate police action.

    Maguindanao provincial police director and Senior Supt. Agustin Tello said agents who tried to arrest Abo in Sultan Kudarat town last week were forced to neutralize him when he resisted and tried to shoot the arresting officers.

    Sammy Al-Mansour, chief of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) said, “We strongly request the Government of the Philippines, particularly the OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process], to look seriously and urgently into these alarming actions of the PNP. These police operations might negatively affect the peace process.”

    Jaafar, also the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, earlier told reporters his brother was shot dead for refusing to surrender to policemen serving him a warrant for his arrest.

    “As in the alarming situation at present, raids of the PNP [on]BIAF members, if left unabated, may escalate tension and spark violent armed encounters,” Al-Mansour said.

    He added that law enforcement operations in areas where rebel forces are holding out are supposedly a mutual joint initiative of the government and the MILF, based on all security agreements crafted by both sides.

    Al-Mansour said efforts to address security issues in areas covered by their 1997 agreement are governed by bilateral coordination protocols.

    “As a matter of record, when the coordination mechanisms were faithfully observed, peace and order was maintained on the ground. If not, as in the case of the Mamasapano encounter, armed clashes eventually happened and put at risk the gains of the peace process,” he added.

    Al-Mansour asked Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza to look into the issue to prevent adverse implications to the current government-MILF peace process.

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