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MILF using clashes to push draft law

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front  is using the fighting between government troops and Muslim extremists a vehicle to push the implementation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, a security expert said Monday.

This assessment came a day after MILF vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar said that those fighting the government in Lanao del Sur were disgruntled Muslims—not bandits or terrorists—who were angry that Congress failed to pass the BBL.

“Actually, that’s an excuse to scare the government after its failure to pass the BBL,” the security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

MILF bet. The leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front supported the presidential candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who was the only candidate who has visited the separatists’ Camp Darapanan headquarters in Maguindanao. Duterte met with MILF vice chairperson for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar.
On Sunday, Jaafar said MILF leaders could not control their members who might join the attacks against government troops.

Commanders on the ground estimated that some 55 rebels have been killed in weeks-long clashes with the Army that began in Barangay Bayaboa, in Butig town, then spread to seven other villages.

The fighting  displaced about 200,000 people who fled to evacuation centers or the homes of relatives while the military was defusing landmines left by the rebels.

The security official said the MILF was merely exploiting the situation in Butig town, an MILF-controlled area, and sent reinforcements to the group led by Omar and Abdullah Maute, which had engaged in fierce fighting with the Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion in Bayabao village.

He said the MILF joined the battle under the cover of Abdullah Makapaar alias Commander Bravo, who has operated outside the MILF’s hierarchy.

Bravo launched a series of attacks on civilian targets, killing more than 60 people after the Supreme Court struck down an agreement between the government and the MILF on the ancestral domain of the Moros in 2008. The attacks also displaced some 700,000 residents.

“MILF chairman Murad Ibrahim cannot control Bravo? Why? Perhaps Bravo is being used by the leadership to create chaos so that the government will accede to their demands,” the source added.

Congress refused to pass the BBL, citing its unconstitutional provisions.

Topics: MILF , BBL
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