BANGSAMORO CHIEF: MILF camp, not terrorists haven

BY PMT NEWS DESK

ILIGAN CITY – The interim chief minister of the Bangsamoro government said the target of the assault by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Maguing, Lanao del Sur, on March 2, 2022, was not a terrorist haven but a recognized territory of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim, chair of the MILF who signed a peace deal with the government that eventually led to the setting up of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM, issued a statement saying that the position targeted by the government for aerial bombardment that started at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, was MILF territory, hence covered by the agreement between the government and the former rebel group.

Ebrahim’s statement came after the military launched bomb runs on Tuesday to support the ground infantry offensive against what they claimed were 60 Daulah Islamiyah members under Abu Zacharia in the village of Ilalag, Maguing town.

The AFP has maintained that the target of the combat operations were members of the Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) and Maute Group (MG), not the MILF.

Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP spokesperson, reiterated that the military forces in Mindanao were running after DI commander Hadji Satar alias Abu Zacariah.

But Ebrahim said the encounter that happened was between their forces and the military.

At least seven suspected terrorists were already killed in the combat operations, said Zagala. While on the government side, a soldier was killed and 4 wounded.

“Our dear constituents in Maguing, Lanao del Sur have been troubled (by the) military airstrikes and most recently, the firefight that involved members of the military and forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” said Ebrahim.

He said the incident has claimed lives and has forced some of our constituents to flee their homes and find shelters in nearby areas.

“We are now closely working with our partners from the local government, the security forces, and ministers on the ground to assist our internally displaced communities and assure that they get home safely as soon as possible,” Ebrahim said.

“The Bangsamoro government is also making sure that the ongoing ceasefire between the MILF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will produce positive outcomes and provide permanent resolution to the conflict,” he added.

He did not say whether or not the MILF would file a protest over the military’s action and violations of ceasefire protocols, but he said they were optimistic that there would no longer be any confrontation on the ground even as he urged to fully operationalize existing security mechanisms. (PMT)

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