PNP to MILF: Give back SAF guns

Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Acting Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina reiterated his demand yesterday for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to return the firearms and belongings of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen killed in the firefight in Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

At the same time, Espina deplored the brutality of the MILF guerrillas in the killing of the police commandos.

“It was an overkill. They did not have any intent to let anybody live… except for one, who managed to escape, they were shot (in) the head, finishing touches, coup de grace. They took the uniform and even their seal indicating they are government troops, despite the ongoing peace talks,” Espina said.

“I must make it clear, we, in the PNP as your peacekeepers, are fully all out for peace in these peace talks. We behave according to the protocol of the discussion, we expect the other parties to behave. We will always abide by the peace talks,” he added.

When asked what the PNP would do in the event the MILF refuses to yield to the demand, Espina said they “would cross the bridge when they get there.”

Espina though could not reveal the quantity and the kind of the firearms taken from the slain police troopers.

Espina earlier made the accusation against the MILF in a news conference at the House of Representatives on Wednesday in the presence of members of the special committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Espina said the PNP received reliable information that Muslim rebels who killed the 44 PNP SAF were selling the firearms taken from the dead policemen for P1.5 million.

He said the weapons being sold include recoilless rifles, which look like bazookas.

Espina said some of those who took the dead policemen’s mobile phones even sent text messages to their wives, telling them that their husbands were dead.

Espina said the first team of 38 SAF men who tried to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, was met with gunfire.

Nine members of the team died but were able to kill their target, he said.

Espina said a second team of 36 policemen that served as back-up force encountered MILF fighters as the two SAF groups tried to withdraw after shooting it out with the Malaysian terrorist and his bodyguards.

“Thirty-five of the 36 were killed, only one survived. They were finished off with high-powered firearms after the initial encounter. Their faces and bodies were mangled. Their firearms, cellular phones, uniform and other belongings were taken,” he said.

 

ACTING PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL LEONARDO ESPINA ESPINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JAN MAGUINDANAO MARWAN MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT SPECIAL ACTION FORCE
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