MILF declares Kato’s group a lost command PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 August 2011 14:10

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) declared on Friday as “lost command faction” the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) led by Ustadz Ameril Ombra Kato who has been harassing several barangays in Datu Piang, Maguindanao since Sunday.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said the MILF decided to place him in such status after repeatedly ignoring orders from the MILF central committee.
However, Jaafar said the MILF cannot just allow the police and military to engage the BIFF, now pestering regular forces of the front in three villages, without allowing the joint government and MILF ceasefire committee and the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team to exhaust peaceful means of resolving the security problem in
the area.

Sporadic fighting still occur in the villages of Alunganen, Liong, and Nimbao, all in Datu Piang which had been turned into ghost towns when villagers started fleeing since Sunday.

The more than 3,000 evacuees refuse to return home unless their security is guaranteed, authorities said.
The armed conflict in Datu Piang started when followers of Kato, led by Commander Abunawas, repeatedly attacked local MILF guerrillas led by Commander Adzmi, who belong to the front’s 106th Base Command.

“These BIFF members are ignoring our efforts to address the problem peacefully. They are the ones that caused the trouble there,” Jaafar said.
“This group is now a “lost command’ group,” Jaafar told reporters.

The hostilities between the groups of Abunawas and Adzmi already resulted in the deaths of at least 14 combatants from both sides and the displacement of more than 3,000 villagers, now housed in evacuation centers at the town proper of Datu Piang.

Datu Piang municipal administrator Mosib Tan said the area which is the subject of the bloody squabbles between the two groups is only about six hectares and valued at less than P500,000.

He said the contested patch of land belongs to the family of Commander Adzmi, whose wife is an incumbent chairperson of one of the barangays in Datu Piang.