Gov’t vows justice for MILF fighters slain by local terrorist group

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019   •   784

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – The government on Monday vowed to bring to justice the perpetrators of an attack that killed seven members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In a statement, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. expressed his apologies and sympathies to the families of the former MILF combatants who were slain by an attack claimed to have been carried out by an Islamic State (IS)-linked terror group.

“In solidarity with the leadership of the MILF, the government will assist in every way possible the families of these slain MILF fighters,” Galvez said.

“We will exert all efforts to make sure that justice will be served to the perpetrators of this dastardly act,” he added.

The MILF members were killed after the IS-linked group, Turayfe-Dawla group attacked their camp near Shariff Saydona in Maguindanao last week.

The Turayfe-Dawla is a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters which opposes the peace agreement that the MILF signed with the government.

Galvez said the attack demonstrates the “brutality of these terror groups, and the violent methods they will utilize to sow fear, anger, and discord among the populace.”

“Their twisted ideology does not recognize ethnicity nor religion. They have no place in a humane, peaceful society,” he added.

The Cabinet official further said the government recognizes the gallantry of these former MILF fighters who fought against the terror group.

“For us, they are heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice so that their people can live in peace,” he said.

In the previous weeks, the MILF began the decommissioning of its weapons and combatants as part of the peace treaty they forged with the government aimed at ending the decades-long separatist insurgency in Mindanao.

During the second phase of the decommissioning held in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao last month, thousands of weapons were turned over to the government.

Decommissioned MILF fighters also received socio-economic assistance.

“As we sympathize with our Moro brothers and sisters for their loss, I would like to call on the Filipino to unite so that we can address the roots of violent extremism, and bring enduring and long-lasting peace to our nation,” Galvez said.

6 BIFF members surrender in Maguindanao — WestMinCom

Robie de Guzman   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Six alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered to authorities in Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said Wednesday.

In a statement, WestMinCom chief Lieutenant General Corlet Vinluan Jr. said the BIFF members yielded to military troops on May 4 following operations by the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

Vinluan said the six individuals are residents of Barangay Darampua, Sultan sa Barongis and Barangay Kaya-Kaya, Datu Abdullah Sangki in Maguindanao.

They turned over one 5.56mm M653 rifle, one Cal. 30 M1 Garand converted to M14 rifle, one Cal. 30 Carbine, and one Cal. 30 M1 Garand, he added.

They were brought to the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade’s headquarters custodial debriefing while their firearms are placed under documentation.

“I commend the troops for their resolve to end terrorism here in Maguindanao,” said Colonel Pedro Balisi, Jr., Commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade.

The military also thanked local government units and partner stakeholders for their support in the quest for lasting peace in central Mindanao.

“Our troops from the Joint Task Force Central continue to bolster our civil-military cooperation efforts with partner stakeholders to put an end to terrorism in central Mindanao and to convince the remaining terrorists to end their armed struggle and return into the mainstream society,” Vinluan said.

Since January 2021, the WestMinCom said that a total of 80 BIFF personalities were neutralized – 38 of which were killed and 42 surrendered.

The government forces gained a total of 47 firearms, 40 of which were surrendered, and seven were recovered, it added.

Suspected MILF lost command member nabbed in Zamboanga del Norte – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A suspected member of the notorious lost command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was arrested in Zamboanga del Norte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

In a statement, PNP chief General Debold Sinas identified the suspect as 37-year old Kayser Martinez alias Alihamra Martinez, who was said to be a former member of the MILF lost command group operating in Siocon and Sirawai towns in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Martinez was arrested on Wednesday during an operation jointly conducted by elements of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 9 and Siocon Municipal Police Station by virtue of warrant of arrest under criminal case number 232 for the crime of multiple murder issued by the RTC 9, Branch 6, of Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte.

Citing court records, Sinas said Martinez was involved in the massacre of four civilians last August 3, 1999, in Sitio Guisakan, Barangay D. Reconalla, Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte with his former MILF Lost Command Leaders Hairulla Hassan alias Hayron Hassan and Eddie Namenso alias Commander Liwayway.

They were also among the perpetrators of the daring attack on Siocon municipality last May 4, 2003, that resulted in casualties and damages in the municipality.

Currently, Martinez is a member of Hassan Group criminal gang allegedly led by Anderson Hassan alias Commander Sabaya, cousin of former notorious leader Hairulla Hassan who are at the same time eminently monitored tying up with the Local Terrorist Groups (LTGs) based in Panabutan, Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.

“Manhunt operations against the leader and other members of the criminal gang are underway to prevent them from further victimizing innocent people,” Sinas said.

Martinez is presently detained for further interrogation.

Appropriate charges will be filed against him in court, the PNP said.

BIFF member killed in Maguindanao encounter, 2 others yield

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A member of the terrorist group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed in an encounter with the military in Maguindanao on Wednesday morning (December 23).

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) reported Nasser Kandao was killed after an encounter with AFP troops during its blocking operations in Barangay Limpongo, Datu Hoffer in Maguindanao.

Recovered from the encounter site is a motorcycle and an M16 rifle. Hot pursuit operation continues for the other BIFF members that managed to escape. Meanwhile injured troops are recuperating in the hospital.

Meanwhile, two BIFF members yielded to the Philippine National Police (PNP). Authorities reported they are members of the BIFF-Karialan faction. The members also surrendered a .50 caliber sniper.

In appreciation of their decision, the Datu Montawal local government provided each BIFF surrenderer with a sack of rice and cash assistance. AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

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