ZAMBOANGA CITY – The military on Saturday has accused the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of abducting five civilians in Lanao del Norte.
Captain Jefferson Somera, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said MILF rebels under Abdul Macalunto seized the civilians at Poblacion East in the town of Balo-i.
“The abducted civilians were believed to have been brought to a rebel camp in Lanao,” he said.
Somera said members of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion were deployed and have put up checkpoints in the province.
No other details were released by the army about the abduction and the MILF has not issued any statement about the military accusations.
On Friday, some 50 MILF fighters led by Jimmy Rajamuda, raided the Marawi City police station in Lanao del Sur province and shot a civilian before rescuing two comrades – Johanne Cader and Mesron Borodan – detained for illegally carrying firearms.
They also seized the police chief Christopher Panapan and used him as shield as they escaped to the sea. Panapan was later freed in the town of Balindong in Lanao del Sur.
Rajamuda is a commander under Abdurahman Macapaar, a senior rebel leader who heads the MILF 102nd Base Command.
The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is currently negotiating peace with Manila.