Moro Muslim leader arrested in Philippines

The leader of the Philippines Moro Muslim group that this year signed a peace deal has been arrested in the country’s south.

Moro Muslim leader arrested in Philippines

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippines authorities are on high alert at a provincial jail where a top leader in a one-time rebel group that this year signed a peace deal with the government is being held.

Madid Abuat, a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander based in Camp Bilal in Mindinao island, was captured and charged with the abduction of a teacher - identified as Aslainie Pangadir - in Lanao del Norte province.

A report reaching Anadolu Agency on Tuesday showed that witnesses positively identified Abuat as the kidnapper of Pangadir, who is yet to be released.

A separate arrest warrant was also issued for Abuat in 2010 for double murder and frustrated murder charges.

Abuat, however, denied the charges, claiming he was not even in the area at the time of the kidnapping.

On March 27, the MILF and the government signed a peace agreement - the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro - which brought to a close 17-years of negotiations and ended a decades-old armed conflict in the southern area of Mindanao while granting Muslim areas greater political autonomy.

Under the agreement, the MILF agreed to end armed rebellion, but other rebel factions - including Abu Sayyaf and the MNLF - continue to fight on.

Authorities are now on high alert at the jail, with soldiers deployed in case other MILF members try to free Abuat.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has said that it stands ready to grant amnesty to MILF members charged with various criminal suits.

But presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles clarified that the amnesty will not cover all crimes, while government peace panel chairperson Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the amnesty would have to undergo a process.

Deles has also expressed optimism that despite possible hurdles, the peace pact in Mindanao is within reach, stressing that there is no turning back as the government and MILF have gone beyond the “midpoint” of the elusive peace process.

The MILF said the delay in negotiations would cause the government more harm and could stir negative reactions from the international community.

In an editorial posted on its website, the MILF said the delays are caused by “frequent changes” in the positions of the government.

Last Mod: 24 Haziran 2014, 17:36
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