Tag Archive: Muslim rebels

Alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly been promising to give lands to tribal folk once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed, a military official said Friday.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said the military learned of the offer through tribal leaders who had protested the MILF’s “new” camp in Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City.

Alleged members of MILF 103rd Border Command’s 305th Guerilla Unit recruited Higaonon and Maranao tribesmen to train at the camp, then asked them for an P800 “membership fee,” Cabunoc told reporters.

“At in return diumano ay bibigyan sila ng five hectares of land once na maipasa na ‘yung BBL at ma-establish ang Bangsamoro,” he said.

A total of 85 Higaonon and Maranao tribesmen were recruited at the camp in May 2014 then 90 more were recruited last January, Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc said the offer is an “issue,” considering that tribal folk, particularly the Higaonons, own ancestral lands around the camp.

“Issue talaga ‘yun dahil yung ancestral domain ay para ‘yun sa Higaonon tribe mismo at sila ang talagang kinikilala na may karapatan sa naturang lupa, tapos may biglang magpapakilala na sila ang magbibigay ng lupa na ‘yun para sa mga nagpa-affiliate o nagpa-train. Magkakaproblema ang komunidad,” he said.

Cabunoc made the remarks after confirming that the military endorsed protests by Higaonon tribal leaders against the “new” camp in Brgy. Rogonon.

Colonel Gilbert Gapay, commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, had recommended that the camp be dismantled because of the tribal leaders’ protests and because it was built while the ceasefire between the government and MILF is in effect.

Cabunoc said the issue about the camp is a “challenge” to the MILF sincerity in upholding provisions of the 18-year-old ceasefire.

“Challenge ito sa kanila… Alamin nila kung sino ‘yung mga tao na ‘yun, kung talagang tao ba nila na member talaga ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front or nagpapagangap lang na member ng MILF para magkapera,” he said.

“‘Yung pag-recruit at saka pag-training at saka pag-expand ng area, bawal po ‘yun ayon sa usapang pangkapayapaan na pirmado ng government at saka MILF,” Cabunoc noted. (John Roson)

– end –

More than 4,000 people fled their homes in two villages of Pikit, North Cotabato, due to alleged sightings of members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) from Mamasapano, Maguindanao, a disaster management official said Friday.

A total of 895 families, or “100 percent,” of residents in Brgy. Kabasalan evacuated their homes while 210 families from Brgy. Barungis also fled, said Cynthia Ortega, head of the North Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).

“One hundred percent of the residents sa Kabasalan, nag-evacuate sila sa Brgy. Bulol,” Ortega said by phone.

“May sightings kasi ng BIFF, believed to be coming from Mamasapano ‘yung mga BIFF, parang pumunta sila sa may Pikit, particularly sa Brgy. Kabasalan, so may displacement,” she said.

Mamasapano is where BIFF forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas clashed with members of the National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) on January 25.

The clash resulted in the death of 44 members of the elite police unit and 18 MILF guerrillas, while it is unknown if the BIFF also suffered casualties.

To the west of Pikit lies the Liguasan Marsh which, has on its other shore, small villages connected to Mamasapano.

The internally-displaced people are currently staying at a Madrasah (Islamic school), a high school, and relatives’ homes in Brgy. Bulol, Ortega said.

The total number families, 1,105, can be multiplied by four or five to determine the number of displaced individuals, she said.

Ortega said the PDRRMC is currently waiting for the official report on the displacement from the Pikit Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, which will conduct relief operations Saturday.

“Bukas sila (Pikit MDRRMC) magre-relief, kami naman, mag-relief kasi sila bukas, mga three days after. That’s the time for the province to come in, augmentation sa relief nila,” Ortega said. (John Roson)

– end –

The military on Friday denied that fighting erupted between forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Pikit, North Cotabato, on Thursday but said there is “tension” in the area.

“It was [first] thought to be a firefight pero later it was found that it was a burst of gunfire from an unknown group,” Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said in a text message.

Petinglay was earlier quoted in reports that a firefight between the MILF and BIFF erupted 5:50 p.m. in Brgy. Kabasalan.

The fighting supposedly involved 1,000 members of the 108th, 109th, and 110th base commands of the MILF and BIFF forces led by commander Kagi Karialan.

Karialan’s forces were said to have come from Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where the BIFF and MILF clashed with members of the National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) and killed 44 police commandos on January 25.

Despite Friday’s denial, Petinglay admitted that there is “tension” in Brgy. Kabasalan.

“May tension kasi na ongoing dun sa area at mga two days na,” she said.

Petinglay also maintained that some residents have already evacuated their homes.

“May mga nag-evacuate pero wala pong firefight,” she said. (John Roson)

– end –

Maguindanao clash toll breaches 40

The number of policemen killed in a clash with Muslim armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, rose to more than 40 on Monday as authorities discussed repercussions of the fighting, which involved a group engaged in peace negotiations with the government.

An “actual body count” of 49 slain PNP Special Action Force (SAF) members was tallied 11:54 a.m., according to a report from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police.

Some of the bodies have brought to the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat town while retrieval operations for others went on in Mamasapano, according to a copy of the report received 1 p.m.

National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, in a televised press briefing in Maguindanao later Monday afternoon, said 43 killed SAF members have been accounted for while 11 were injured and one is missing.

Seven of the slain police commandos whose bodies have been recovered were officers, Espina said.

3 civilians hurt, 500 families flee

Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao reported that three civilians were injured while more than 500 families fled because of the fighting.

Tot Panangulon, his wife Samra, and their 8-year-old daughter Sara were reportedly wounded during the encounter, OCD-ARMM officer-in-charge Myrna Angot said in an emailed report.

A total of 563 families from Brgy. Tukanalipao, where the clash occurred, and neighboring barangays of Pimblakan, Tuka, Pidsandawan, and Dasikil fled their homes, Angot said.

Of that number, 66 families from Tukanalipao are staying at a madrasah (Islamic school) in Brgy. Daladap, while 497 are taking refuge with relatives, she said. 

Gov’t careful on MILF involvement

Ranking officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is currently in peace negotiations with the government, admitted that members of the group were involved in the clash and defended their action.

Government officials, on the other hand, were careful in mentioning the MILF’s involvement.

“Hindi naman naka-uniporme ‘yung mga nagpaputok kontra sa ating kapulisan but in that area, halo ‘yung mga puwersa. We will know exactly,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas told reporters in Camp Crame.

Roxas made the remark when asked if the MILF were indeed involved in the fighting.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, in a separate interview, said he received information that the members of the smaller Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which had broken away from the MILF, were also involved in the clash.

“Ang pagkaalam namin pumasok dito ‘yung BIFF so we have to run after them,” Gazmin told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Gazmin and Roxas, along with Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang and Espina, later flew to Maguindanao to discuss the situation with local authorities.

Cause of concern

The defense chief, without mentioning the MILF, admitted that the government is “concerned” on how the fighting will affect the peace negotiations.

“Hindi naman kami worried but it is a concern dahil may mga taong ayaw sumama dun sa majority, gagawa at gagawa nyan para mapansin,” Gazmin said, obviously referring to the BIFF.

In a phone interview with reporters, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal admitted that the group is wary of the clash’s possible effect on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“‘Yun na nga ang pinangangambahan,” Iqbal said.

Congress’ deliberations for the BBL, which will implement the peace agreement signed between the government and MILF last March, were suspended on Monday until authorities complete the probe on the clash.

“Ang importante dito, ‘yung dalawang panig, ‘yung partners sa peace process, mag-usap at tingnan how to move forward, kasi mas mahalaga ‘yung peace process, mahalaga ‘yung BBL,” Iqbal said.


Iqbal defended the MILF’s involvement in the clash, saying policemen “attacked” an MILF area.

“Lumusob ang PNP so nagdepensa ‘yung MILF… Siguro higit na isang company ‘yun, may dalawang wings ‘yung umatake… ‘yung dalawang wings, ‘yun ang nakasagupa ng MILF kasi ‘yung area na ‘yun mga 90 percent MILF area,” he said.

“One hundred percent, 1,000 percent walang coordination sa ceasefire [committee], walang coordination sa Ad Hoc Joint Action Group,” Iqbal added.

Roxas, in the press briefing in Maguindanao, maintained that the SAF conducted a “legitimate operation” Sunday against Malaysian and Filipino bomb experts Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.

“Isa itong legitimate operation against Marwan and Basit Usman. Hindi ito para manggulo,” the DILG chief said.

What happened between the SAF and MILF appeared to be a “misencounter,” he added.

Members of the SAF were already pulling out of their area of operation in Brgy. Tukanalipao when they encountered “lawless elements,” Senior Superintendent Noel Armilla, officer-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional police, said Sunday night.

“When the Special Action Force
people were withdrawing, they were ambushed by members of the BIFF
and some allegedly, this as to be verified
and validated, had a misencounter with the MILF,” Espina said.

Iqbal said the MILF is conducting an investigation into the clash, but will also wait for the result of a separate probe being conducted by the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team.

Marwan death unvalidated; Basit Usman escaped

Security forces, meanwhile, admitted that they have yet to validate reports that SAF members killed Marwan during their operation.

“According to reports, they (SAF) were able to neutralize one, si Marwan. Although yung isa nakawala, si Basit Usman,” Gazmin said.

“We have no confirmation but that was the report we got last night… We will validate that,” the defense chief said, when pressed for a confirmation on Marwan’s reported death.

“It is most highly likely that he was killed in the process,” Espina said

Marwan, a ranking member of the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah born in Malaysia’s Johor state, is wanted by the U.S. government who offers US$5 million for his capture.

He is said to have been hiding in the Philippines since 2003 and was previously reported to have been killed in a military air strike in Sulu in 2012.

Usman, linked both to the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf, is also wanted by the U.S. who offers up to US$ 1 million for his arrest. (John Roson)

– end –

A Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) commander and an Abu Sayyaf member were killed in a four-hour clash with Army soldiers and troops of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Al Barka, Basilan, Saturday, military officials said.

Killed were BIFF commander Basir Kasaran and Abu Sayyaf member Misuari Jamiri, Army 18th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Paolo Perez said.

Kasaran was the highest-ranking BIFF leader in Basilan and was also third in the Abu Sayyaf’s heirarchy in the province, Perez said in a text message.

One member of the MNLF, who worked along with government troops, also died in the fighting, he said.

The clash in Brgy. Kuhon Lennuh erupted around 5 a.m. and lasted until 9 a.m., Perez said.

Elements of the 18th IB “ambushed” Abu Sayyaf members with the help of MNLF members led by Ombong Malatin alias Commander Cobra, he said.

“Nauna sila (MNLF) with an intelligence team, then nag-reinforce ‘yung two platoons ko with mortars dahil naipit sila sa noong mag-pintakasi ‘yung ibang Abu Sayyaf,” Perez added.

Malatin is working with the Army because he has siblings who are among MNLF members integrated into the military, Perez said.

He said members of Kasaran’s BIFF group are also Abu Sayyaf members.

“Isang grupo lang ‘yan, same banana with different letters. Parehong suportado ng al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, pareho lang terorista,” he said.

Brigadier General Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said the death of Kasaran is a “great blow” to both the BIFF and Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.

Kasaran was responsible for a series of atrocities against residents of Al Barka, including a massive looting incident in 2013, Galvez said.

“Kasaran led the Abu Sayyaf in ransacking houses in Matata, Kuhon Lennuh, and Danapa during the barangay election last year. While the people were casting their votes, his group and the Abu Sayyaf looted all the valuable items and belongings inside the unattended houses. Kinatatakutan si Basir sa Al Barka,” he said.

Jamiri, on the other hand, was a cousin of Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Nurhassan Jamiri, Galvez added. (John Roson)

– end –

2 killed, 5 hurt in Maguindanao blasts

(Update) Two improvised explosive devices (IED) went off in Maguindanao on Monday morning, killing two people and injuring at least five others, police and military officials said.

A “cellphone-triggered” IED went off in Sitio Layning, Brgy. Salvo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, around 8:23 a.m., Senior Supt. Jaime Pido, Maguindanao Provincial Police director, said in a phone interview.

“Motorcycles usually pass by that area,” Pido said, adding the bomb was made of an 81-millimeter mortar ammunition and appeared “similar” to other IEDs that went off in the province in the past.

Minutes later, around 9 a.m., another bomb went off in the neighboring village of Brgy. Iginagampong, Datu Unsay, injuring six people, Pido said.

“Dalawa daw ‘yung namatay dun sa anim na wounded, yun ang sinabi sa akin ng chief of police ko dun sa Datu Unsay” Pido said when contacted Monday evening.

“Ayaw lang daw magbigay ng pangalan nung mga tao dun… pagkaputok, kinuha agad, dinala (‘yung mga bangkay),” he said.

The police official, however, confirmed that both fatalities were members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said one Basit Abas alias Basco, a member of the BIFF, was hit by shrapnel on the face in the blast in Brgy. Salvo.

Abas, along with other BIFF members under Mohaiden Animbang alias Karialan were passing through the area on motorcycles when the bomb exploded.

Animbang and his men were on the way to attend a “kanduli” or thanksgiving event hosted by a certain Tong in Brgy. Iginagampong, Asto said.

The explosion prompted the BIFF members to fired their guns at different directions for two minutes before they resumed their travel, he said.

However, as the group was nearing the “kanduli” venue in Sitio Kalot, Brgy. Iginagampong, another IED made of an 81-millimeter mortar exploded.

Karialan and five followers of a certain Tambako were hit in the second explosion, Asto said.

Meanwhile, Pido said the thanksgiving event in Brgy. Iginagampong is different from another “kanduli” that Mayor Zahara Ampatuan of neighboring Shariff Aguak was set to hold in her town on Tuesday. (John Roson)

– end –

One militiaman was wounded as government troops clashed with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Kabacan, North Cotabato, early Monday, authorities said.

Soldiers, militiamen, and police clashed with an “armed lawless group” led by a certain commander Kadatuan, in Brgy. Lower Paatan, around 6:30 a.m., Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Hao, commander of the 7th Infantry Battalion, said he sent 30 soldiers after police sought military assistance over reports that BIFF members were harassing farmers in the area.

“May isang nagko-complain na community because more or less 20 BIFF [members] ay nagsasaka raw ng mga lupa ng may lupa. Because of that sinamahan namin ang police… at around 6 o’clock e binaril ‘yung mga tropa, wala kaming nagawa kundi lumaban,” Hao told reporters.

A militiaman, identified as Romeo Pizarro of the Civilian Active Auxiliary, suffered a bullet wound to the leg during the 15-minute fighting, Senior Supt. Roque Alcantara, North Cotabato Provincial Police director, said.

It was was the first time for security forces to get involved in a clash with the BIFF since the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed their “framework agreement” for peace last week.

Hao and Alcantara said the fighting had nothing to do with the recently-signed agreement, which the BIFF strongly opposes.

The BIFF was formed by Ameril Umbra Kato in 2010 after failing to settle disputes with the MILF leadership. (John Roson)

– end –

The government plans to integrate members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) into the Philippine National Police under the framework agreement reached by their peace panels, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

“A consultation will be held to map out the plan,” Gazmin told reporters at an award-giving ceremony for disaster response teams in Camp Aguinaldo, Wednesday.

The plan is part of reintegrating MILF fighters into the society after they disarm and de-mobilize, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, whose office supervises the police, said at the same event.

“‘Yung mga talagang mahuhusay at nagpapakita na marunong silang sumumod sa disciplines ng armed services ay maaring ma-integrate sa armed services din, whether that is in the AFP or in the PNP,” Roxas said.

Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, PNP spokesman, said the force will respect any agreement between the government and MILF if it is deemed to pave the way for peace in Mindanao.

“Kung ito ang magiging susi, kung magkakaroon po tayo ng sinasabi nating genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao, ay supportive po kami sa ganitong klase ng idea,” Cerbo said in a phone interview.

Reminded that some MILF members are facing criminal charges and included in the PNP’s most wanted list, Cerbo said: “‘Yan naman ay mapapag-usapan, kaya depende na rin kung ano ang mapagkakayarian ng both parties… kami naman ay open, sa ganitong usapin.”

Once the plan materializes, it will be the second time for the government to integrate members of a rebel group into its security forces.

In October 1996, then President Fidel Ramos ordered the integration of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) guerrillas into the Armed Forces of the Philippines after the government and MNLF reached a final peace agreement the previous month.

The agreement provided for the integration of 5,750 MNLF members into the AFP and auxiliary services.

Meanwhile, Gazmin assured that the government will address the MNLF’s concerns over the accord with the MILF.

“Magkakaroon din ng consultation sa kanila (MNLF), hindi naman basta isusubo sa kanila ‘yun, magkakaroon ng mga interactions,” the defense chief said.

Television and newspaper reports earlier quoted MNLF officials, including chairman Nur Misuari, as saying that the deal with the MILF violates the one with the MNLF.

“That is a remote possibility,” Gazmin said, when asked whether he thinks there will be hostilities with the MNLF. (John Roson)

– end –

Followers of Moro rebel leader Ameril Umbra Kato launched attacks in different towns of Maguindanao early Monday, firing at military installations and cutting off powerlines, authorities said.

Colonel Prudencio Asto, public affairs chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the attacks started around 12:30 a.m., with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) “harassing” detachments in Brgy. Cabengi, Datu Saudi Ampatuan; Brgy. Bagan, Guindulungan, and Brgys. Meta and Maitumaig in Datu Unsay.

All four detachments are located at the fringes of Kato’s mountain stronghold, Camp Omar, located at the boundary of the three towns.

Armed BIFM members also fired at the 1st Mechanized Brigade headquarters in Shariff Aguak and the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion headquarters in Brgy. Cabengi, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Asto said.

The 1st Mechanized Brigade is currently housed at the former provincial capitol beside a mansion of the Ampatuan family, so bullets also landed on the house, he said.

Also “harrassed,” around 6:15 a.m., were soldiers manning the detachment in Brgy. Salman, Ampatuan, near the site of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

“Lalapitan nila (BIFM members) ‘yung detachment o kampo, paputukan, saka aalis and then pagkatapos ng ilang minuto puputukan uli, ganun ang ginagawa nila, parang hit and run,” Asto said.

At least two BIFM members were killed as government troops repulsed the attacks while a soldier, identified as Cpl. Romel Mantos of the 603rd Infantry Brigade, suffered minor injuries.

Skirmishes were still going on until noon as troops conduct clearing operations near the attacked military installations. The BIFM deployed an estimated 500 fighters to carry out the attacks, Asto said.

Power posts cut down, hundreds flee

Senior Supt. Marcelo Pintac, Maguindanao provincial police director, said 11 municipalities were affected by the attacks as BIFM members cut electric posts.

“Pinutol nila ‘yung linya ng kuryente, ‘yung mga poste, pinutol nila,” he said, adding that even the provincial police headquarters has no power.

A military official in the area, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak, said the BIFM members used chainsaws to cut electric posts.

Loreto Rirao, head of the Office of Civil Defense in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said fighting was concentrated in the towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Guindulungan, Ampatuan, and Shariff Aguak.

As of Monday noon, the OCD-ARMM has “validated” an initial 189 families as having been affected by the fighting. Classes in all the affected areas were suspended, he said.

Also, the affected areas are located along the Cotabato City-General Santos highway, so motorists were advised to take different routes, Rirao said.

“Closed pa ang kalsada, kini-clear pa ng military at wala pang makadaan ngayon,” he said, adding that this was also the reason why OCD employees could not validate the other families.

Asto, for his part, said all military units in the province were ordered to be on a “defensive posture” to prevent further attacks.

“Defensive action kami, we will punish those who committed these atrocities, we will also make them suffer the consequences, at ito’y inumpisahan nila,” he said.

Peace talks not affected

In Manila, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles condemned the attacks, but said these will not affect peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Kato was formerly a commander of the MILF’s 105th Base Command, but broke away and formed the BIFM after failing to settle differences with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

The attacks, led by BIFF chief of staff Ustadz Carialan, were initiated during the Ramadhan “only demonstrate their disrespect for this holy month,” Deles said in a statement.

“The BIFM is not part of the MILF, and thus is not covered by any ceasefire agreement… Definitely, our government forces are ready for necessary defensive actions to protect and ensure the welfare of communities should the perpetrators launch attacks again. Pursuit operations against Carialan and his men are being conducted to bring them to the bar of justice,” she said.

Deles believes the BIFM’s attacks were meant to derail the peace process between the government and the MILF.

“We assure the public that these incidents will not affect the substantial gains that we have carefully and persistently built with our counterparts… we remain firm in our resolve to continue engaging the MILF in the negotiation table until we are able to reach an agreement to finally resolve the conflict in Mindanao,” she said. (John Roson)

– end –

The number of families displaced by fighting among members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front increased to almost 300 as the two groups clashed anew in Carmen, North Cotabato, on Friday, a military official said.

Colonel Prudencio Asto, public affairs chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said 287 families from Brgy. Tonganon are presently taking refuge in Brgys. Lawili and New Panay in Aleosan.

Around 6 a.m. Friday, the groups of commander Teo Minanimbong of the MNLF and commander Karim Sagadan of the MILF’s 110th Base Command clashed in Sitio Misalan, one of Tonganon’s sub-villages.

Firefight lasted for almost 15 minutes and resulted in the wounding of Abubakar Ali, 35, one of the leaders of Minanimbong’s group, Asto said in a text message.

Ali suffered a bullet wound on his stomach and was brought to the Aleosan District Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, Asto said the volatile situation in Tonganon “worsened” when members of the village’s civilian volunteer organization joined the conflict.

However, the firefight subsided when a platoon of the 7th Infantry Battalion arrived for “peace enforcement,” he said, adding that the soldiers are still dispatched in the area and are monitoring the situation.

On Wednesday, Minanimbong’s group also figured in a skirmish with followers of Sagadan and commander Tarzan Dagadas in Sitio Misalan.

Three days earlier, Dagadas’ group reportedly “harassed” Minanimbong’s followers at the Katian Post.

The skirmishes between the MNLF and MILF members, which have been going on and off since late March, are said to be due to a long-standing family feud, not a war between the two Muslim rebel groups. (John Roson)

– end –