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PNP names MILF men in bombing

POLICE identified three suspects in Tuesday’s  bomb attack in Tacurong City as being members of a faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The suspects were identified as Hairodin Abubakar, Lok Oteng and Daud Kansi, and were said to have had one other companion.

Police said the improvised bomb was brought from Matanog, Maguindanao to Tacurong City through Lambayong, Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao.

Girding for war. These are some of the soldiers belonging to five Army battalions and three Marine battalions deployed recently to Sulu province to go after an estimated 200 fighters of the Abu Sayyaf terror group. MARINES PHOTO
The military, on the other hand, said the blast, which injured several civilians, was the handiwork of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters rebels.

The bomb held concrete nails and metal fragments and was concealed in the bumper of a black Toyota car parked at a vacant lot near the city center.

Police and the military said they were tracking the assailants.

The blast, one security expert said, could be a prelude to wide-scale hostilities between the MILF and security forces after the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the lynchpin for a peace agreement between the government and the rebels, failed to pass in Congress.

The rival Moro National Liberation Front said it would not be dragged into a shooting war with government forces.

“We will not permit the war from spilling over to our areas,”  MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said amid signs that the MILF was preparing for war.

Reports said the Tacurong bombing was a unilateral action by Abdullah Macapar, alias Commander Bravo of the MILF, who was reportedly massing fighters in Central Mindanao following the collapse of the BBL.

Cerveza said the prospects for peace in Mindanao depends on how the military handles the situation.

“If the government will be stupid and go on a wanton assault, then widespread war could start,” Cerveza said.

Earlier, chief government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer warned that failure to pass the BBL could spark violence.

“That’s the danger, that’s why we are taking steps, calling for sobriety,” she said.

Ferrer said indifference and chronic absenteeism in the House torpedoed the passage of the BBL.

“Let me state the fact: The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, in whatever shape or form, did not make it out of the 16th Congress,” said Ferrer.

“The sheer indifference and chronic absenteeism of majority of the legislators manifested in the lack of quorum almost on a daily basis in the House of Representatives, and the prolonged and repetitive interpellation of oppositors ate up the remaining sessions,” Ferrer said.

The 10,000-strong MILF signed a peace accord with the government in 2014 to end its struggle for independence, which began in the 1970s.

Under the accord, the rebels would have only given up their arms after the BBL was passed creating the autonomous homeland and a regional government was elected. The vote was meant to take place alongside the May general election.

After the collapse in 2008 of the last attempt to seal a peace deal with the MILF, hardline rebels raided Christian farming villages, triggering fighting that left more than 400 people dead and 600,000 displaced.

Chief MILF negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said  Wednesday  the rebel leadership was working hard to avoid a repeat, and vowed to continue working for peace with Aquino’s successor.

He told ABS-CBN television there could be a feeling of “repression” within the MILF ranks, but the leadership was countering with “massive engagement.”

“We just explain to them that here lies the problem in the peace process. We will never cease engaging in the peace process,” he told ABS-CBN television.

Most political analysts say Aquino lost lawmakers’ support for the autonomy bill after a police raid in MILF territory in Mamasapano last year killed a Malaysian bomb maker on the United States’ list of most-wanted terrorists.

However, the raid led to a day of intense fighting with the MILF and other rebels that left 44 police commandos dead.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said  Wednesday  the US did not carry out that operation.

At a forum in Quezon City, Goldberg said while the US will continue to work closely with the Philippines in monitoring local terrorism linked to international jihadists, the Mamasapano raid was not a US-designed operation.

He said the US and the Philippines, along with the other countries, have been cooperating with one another to share information to fight terrorism.

At the same forum, he would not confirm nor deny the presence of some US soldiers during the rescue operation after 44 SAF members were killed in a clash with the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Although the US supports peace, Goldberg said, it would not comment on the BBL.

“We have said all along that the BBL is domestic legislation. It’s intended to carry out the comprehensive agreement on Bangsamoro. It is a domestic issue not for me to comment,” he said. With Rio N. Araja, Sandy Araneta, AFP

 

Topics: Girding for war , PNP names MILF men in bombing , PNP , MILF
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