Saturday, October 12, 2013

Philippine military shells MILF bases despite truce deal, peace talks


From the Website of MILF
links: http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/welcome/item/599-philippine-military-shells-milf-bases-despite-truce-deal-peace-talks

Philippine military shells MILF bases despite truce deal, peace talks

  • Thursday, Oct 10 2013
  • Written by  Desk Editor
The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group negotiating peace with the government has accused the military on Tuesday of attacking its forces in the southern province of Basilan, the Mindanao Examiner reported on October 8, 2013.
Von Al Haq, a rebel spokesman, said troops fired cannons on MILF positions in the village of Ulitan in Ungkaya Pukan town. He said troops, under Colonel Carlito Galvez, attacked several rebel bases sparking a fire fight.


He said it was not the first time that Galvez, commander of army forces in Basilan province, targeted the MILF which has signed a cease-fire agreement with the Aquino government to allow peaceful negotiations aimed at ending decades of bloody fighting in the southern Philippines.

“The military attacked our forces again and fighting erupted because of the military assault,” Al Haq said.

It was not immediately known if there were casualties in the fighting, but the army said the military operation targeted the Abu Sayyaf, a small, but the most notorious rebel group blamed for the spate of terrorism and kidnappings for ransom in the troubled province.

Just on Monday, the army said troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf rebels headed by Juhair Aliman in Basilan and killed two fighters, but two soldiers were also slain in the violence. It said the operation was launched to free the circumferential road from lawless elements.

But Al Haq said the military operation was launched against the MILF in the guise of pursuing Abu Sayyaf rebels. “As in the past cases, military operations were directed at the MILF in the guise of running after the Abu Sayyaf. We have bases in Basilan and these bases are protected by the cease-fire agreement, but spoilers of peace are targeting us. The military violated the cease-fire accord,” he said.

The MILF said military shelling also hit civilian communities and villagers have fled to safer areas.

Abbas Salung, chairman of the MILF Cease-fire Committee based in Basilan province, said he sought an immediate ceasefire with the military, but “it would seem the Colonel Galvez was recalcitrant.”

“We could not understand why the attack was irresponsibly conducted against our forces and the shelling not being stopped. The government forces assaulted our troops and bombarded civilian communities. These are utter violations of the government and MILF ceasefire accord and agreement on the civilian protection, human rights and international humanitarian laws by Philippine Army troops,” Salung said.

He said Galvez has undermined the cease-fire accord. “This is not the first time that Colonel Galvez undermined the cease-fire accord and the primacy of the peace process between the government and MILF,” Salung said.

The MILF said it will file a protest with the government cease-fire body against Galvez.

In a related story, Luwaran source from the island province of Basilan also reported the   skirmishes between Moro rebels headed by a certain Commander Malista and Army Scout Rangers at around 1:00PM on October 8 at Barangay Ulitan in Ungkaya Pukan town. There was no available figure on the number of casualties on both sides.

In the previous fire fight at Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip, Basilan last October 7, one MILF fighter named Kursi Umangkat was martyred when the group of Commander Muhmin Umangkat engaged PA Scout Rangers that raided their camp in violation of the ceasefire accord between the government and the MILF. The Basilan crisis forced the evacuation of 600 residents from Barangay Ulitan and another 300 residents from Barangay Tongbato, both from the town of Ungkaya Pukan.

Meanwhile, the right to free travel by residents of Basilan is now being suppressed by both the AFP and PNP especially those having no valid identifications card. Passengers have to pass through four stages of strict checks before they are allowed to board. Moro passengers experienced tough scrutiny and are allegedly required to show their birth certificates with names of their parents being asked by security officers.





MILF Website


links:

http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/welcome/item/599-philippine-military-shells-milf-bases-despite-truce-deal-peace-talks




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