Philippines: MILF members suspected of attack on town

Local mayor says group staged dawn attack on village administration building over long standing land dispute, but fled when army and police forces arrived

Philippines: MILF members suspected of attack on town

World Bulletin / News Desk

Members of the Philippines one time largest Moro rebel group are suspected of involvement in an attack on a village in the southern Philippines which left five people wounded. 

Ibrahim Macasayon, the vice mayor for the town of Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat province, told reporters Thursday that members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) staged the dawn attack Wednesday on the village’s administration building over a long standing land dispute, but fled when army and police forces arrived.

The MILF forces -- led by Commander Tige Guiamandin -- are reported to have engaged in an hour-long gunbattle with villagers until the soldiers arrived.

He added that normalcy was quickly restored, citing the intervention of the military and the International Monitoring Team of the government-MILF peace process.

The process, inked between the government and MILF in March 2014, is aimed at bringing an end to 17 years of negotiations and a decades old armed conflict, while granting Muslims greater political autonomy.

Reports have said that the MILF attacked the office over a territorial conflict and the refusal of local farmers to give money to the group.

A councillor, several officers and an unidentified civilian are reported to have been wounded. It was not known if the suspected MILF members suffered any casualties.

Soldiers and police have since been deployed to the village to prevent further violence.

A local catholic radio station -- the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation -- reported late Wednesday that a Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) overseeing the peace process had managed to move the MILF faction responsible from the area.

The IMT, comprised of soldiers from Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Libya and non-uniformed conflict resolution experts and economists from Japan, Norway and the European Union, has been helping to enforce the government-MILF interim ceasefire since late 2003. 

On Jan. 25, MILF members and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters engaged in a shootout with police commandos, which led to the deaths of 44 police, 18 MILF, five BIFF, several civilians, and a wanted "terrorist" authorities were trying to apprehend.

The incident caused Congress to halt passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), endangering the peace process.

BBL legalizes the creation of a new region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao under the terms of the 2014 deal.

Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2015, 14:13
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