Religious leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have asked renegade commander Ameril Umbra Kato to patch up his differences with chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, a spokesman for the rebel group said.

Von al Haq, military spokesman for the MILF, said the Ulama Council visited Kato’s mountain lair in Maguindanao and gave him two weeks to come down and talk with Murad.

“Kino-convince nila (ulamas) si Kato na magbalik sapagkat ‘yun ang mas magnadang situation… kailangan makipag-usap si Umbra Kato kay chairman Al Haj Murad parang sa ganun ay, kung meron mga gusot, ay mapag-usapan,” Al Haq told reporters by phone.

The meeting between Kato and the ulamas was held around September 9 or 10, just a little more than a week after Eid il Fitr or the end of Ramadan, he said.

The MILF, he said, was “very lenient” to Kato, giving the former commander of the Bangsamoro Armed Islamic Forces’ 105th Base Command enough time.

“Within two weeks malaman natin kung positive ‘yung result or hindi. After two weeks, kung hindi rin talaga mag-submit si Kato, ‘yun na mag-decide na talaga, wala nang pasensyahan,” Al Haq said.

The rebel spokesman did not say what action will be taken against Kato after the two-week period, but warned of consequences.

“Maraming situation ang mangyayari… unang-una hindi siya (Kato) ma-cover ng ceasefire agreement kung aalis siya sa MILF, then siguradong aatakehin sya ng AFP,” Al Haq said.

Kato, who now leads an armed group called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, is wanted by the authorities for launching attacks in several communities in Central Mindanao in 2008. (John Roson)

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