MILF troop movement

KORONADAL CITY—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has admitted that its members were at fault when they traveled bringing high-powered weapons in Maguindanao last Nov. 1.

Von Alhaq, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the MILF’s armed-wing, said they are willing to face the investigation to be conducted by the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the Malaysian-led international body that mainly monitors the implementation of the ceasefire accord between the MILF and the government.

“There’s a lapse on the part of the MILF commander. He forgot to coordinate their movement with the CCCH. We are admitting that it’s a pure ceasefire violation,” Alhaq said in Filipino.

CCCH stands for the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.

Under the implementing guidelines of the 1997 GPH-MILF agreement on the general cessation of hostilities, it prohibits the massive deployment and/or movement of state and MILF forces which are not normal administrative functions and activities.

The guidelines also provide that the movement of MILF forces outside their identified areas, as jointly determined by the CCCH, shall be coordinated by concerned MILF commanders to the government forces’ commanders for prior clearance.

In keeping with a 2014 peace deal, the BIAF is undergoing phased decommissioning of its forces and weapons.

Alhaq said the Maguindanao police office is filing a complaint regarding the apprehension of at least 35 heavily-armed MILF members and their firearms in Datu Odin Sinsuat town last Nov. 1.

According to Alhaq, the ceasefire violation complaint will be investigated by the IMT, vowing that they would respect the body’s decision on the matter.

He said the MILF members apprehended by state forces belonging to the 105th Base Command were in a convoy on their way home to Talitay town from Sultan Kudarat, via Kabuntalan.

Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the apprehended MILF members have been released from custody but their firearms remain with the military.

Baldomar said the heavily-armed MILF members were apprehended at a checkpoint along the national highway.

/MUF

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