Top Filipino Muslim leader dies of stroke

MILF, the group that Kato broke away from, signed a pro-autonomy peace settlement with the Philippine government in 2014.

Top Filipino Muslim leader dies of stroke

World Bulletin / News Desk

The leader of a key Filipino-Muslim group died after suffering a stroke on Tuesday morning in the country’s south, sources said.

Ameril Umbra Kato, leader of the seven-year old Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), a splinter group of the 37-year-old Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), died of cardiac arrest in his hideout in Bagan village, Guindulungan town, Maguindanao, at two on Tuesday morning, said Mohagher Iqbal, a MILF peace negotiator.

Kato was buried in Kateman village, Guindulungan town before eight on Tuesday morning, Iqbal said, adding he received the news from a reliable source.

Members of BIFM and its armed wing, the Bangasmoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), confirmed Kato’s death, mayor Samsodin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao said.

In November 2011, Kato suffered a stroke but had recovered.

The first stroke had come just a month after the MILF expelled him as commander of its 105th command in October 2011. Since then, he and his men relentlessly attacked MILF’s 105th base command.

Kato openly criticised the peace talks then, saying the Philippine government and the MILF would never reach a political settlement. He was later proved wrong as the two parties forged a pro-autonomy peace settlement for enhanced self-rule for Filipino Muslims in the south, in 2014.

Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2015, 17:38
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