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MILF torches marijuana farm to support anti-crime drive

Photo provided by Nhor Gayak shows MILF rebels burning marijuana that they seized from a farm in Carmen, North Cotabato over the weekend.

COTABATO, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) burned hundreds of marijuana shrubs the guerrillas had seized from a remote farm in Barangay Tupig, Carmen town during a secret operation over the weekend.

Nhor Gayak, a Cotabato City-based radio reporter who witnessed the operation, said he and the MILF guerrillas had to walk through open fields with rugged terrain to reach the marijuana farm.

The MILF operation was in keeping with their 1997 anti-crime agreement with Malacañang, he added.

Two senior MILF commanders, Nayang Timan and Abdullah Hamza, led the operation.

They and their followers carried out the raid after learning from villagers about the propagation of marijuana plants in Sitio Sinipitan.

Gayak quoted the MILF commanders who led the raid as saying the operation was in compliance with their July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities with Malacañang.

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The accord, meant to ensure the cordiality of the peace overture between the government and the MILF, binds both sides to cooperate in dealing with peace and security problems in potential flashpoint areas where the MILF operates.

The agreement also enjoins the MILF and the government to help each other in neutralizing criminal gangs and terrorists whose activities can derail the peace process.

Gayak said the guerrillas immediately burned the uprooted marijuana plants in the presence of community elders and barangay residents.

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