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MILF commander to file protest vs. AFP, MNLF for attack in North Cotabato

May 18, 2013 10:50am
A commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Saturday accused the Moro National Liberation Front and the military of attacking its forces and burning its members' houses in Cotabato last Thursday.

In a post on the MILF website, MILF 108th base command head Hadji Mansur said followers of the MNLF's Datu Dimam Ambil burned many houses owned by MILF members during the attack at Barangay Marbel in Matalam town.

Although the MILF said it repelled the MNLF attack, another attack occurred in the afternoon, with the Army's 602nd Infantry Brigade backing up the MNLF forces.

“We will file our protest on this military-backed MNLF attack and the necessary charges for the burning of our houses,” Mansur said.

The MILF said Ambil's forces appeared to assault their relatives with the MILF forces under Mansur.

Mansur described the afternoon attack as a "blatant ceasefire violation” by the military.

“The Army troops were supposed to be a neutral buffer force and should have halted the assault and the burning of houses by forces of Datu Dima,” he said.

According to the MILF, the 602nd Infantry Brigade had been put up as buffer force "on their insistence," following the first encounter between the MNLF and MILF forces in same area last May 5.

Intervention by the government and MILF ceasefire committees and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) stopped the fighting last May 5.

Both sides agreed to resolve their misunderstanding through peaceful means after the May 13 elections.

"The military insisted to put up their buffer force in between the feuding parties to ensure that no untoward incident would happen while works for peaceful resolutions are underway," the MILF said.

'Misunderstanding?'

Meanwhile, the MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities said it is "working out on the report" but expressed dismay on the alleged participation by Army forces in the attack.

It emphasized the firefight is not organizational involving MILF and MNLF but a mere misunderstanding between the local forces. - VVP, GMA News
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