MILF to probe Basilan clash which killed 4 of its members
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2014 - 4:42pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will look into last week’s clash in Basilan, which reportedly claimed the lives of some of its members.

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said he had received reports stating that their members were affected by the military raid that targeted the Abu Sayyaf.

“Our surprise is that why they (MILF troops) were hit when they are far from the target of the raid,” Jaafar told Solar News.

“We think we should know the reason why it happened because probably, someone committed a mistake again,” he added.

When asked whether the MILF is conducting an investigation on the matter, Jaafar said yes.

He said such incidents should not happen again, noting that the Philippine government and the MILF have just signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

“We do not want this agreement to be disturbed by such unwanted incident initiated by the military men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Basilan,” Jaafar said.

Citing field reports, Jaafar said about four MILF members were killed due to the military offensive.

He said the matter has been brought to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the ceasefire committees.

“Let’s wait for the result (of the probe). It’s now in the hands of IMT. Let’s give them a chance,” Jaafar said in Filipino.

Security forces in Basilan stepped up offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan last week after receiving information about the bandits’ extortion activities.

Military officials claim that the encounters left as much as 18 Abu Sayyaf terrorists and two soldiers dead.

A total of 14 bandits and 31 soldiers, including three Army officers, were injured during the clash.

Security sources previously said that some MILF commanders had been dragged into the encounters as most of the Abu Sayyaf bandits targeted by soldiers are their relatives.

Last Monday, Armed Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. denied that the  MILF was involved in the clashes.

Tutaan said the armed men who had aided the terrorists might have been former MILF members who are now involved in criminal activities. (with a report from Alvin Perez)

ABU SAYYAF ALVIN PEREZ ARMED FORCES ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BASILAN COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT DOMINGO TUTAAN JR. GHADZALI JAAFAR JAAFAR MILF
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