Chiz condemns Mindanao attacks, but says peace at all cost still priority PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 August 2012 13:52

Senator Chiz Escudero condemned the simultaneous attacks by Muslim rebels on Army detachments in Maguindanao and North Cotabato that left seven people dead.

“I condemn these attacks of the breakaway rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato,” Escudero said.

The attacks left at least five soldiers injured. Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, quoting military reports, told media that at least two rebels were killed

“These attacks on army detachments in Central Mindanao are also attacks on civilians. Civilians have been forced to leave their homes, their livelihood, and the education of their children as they fear for their lives,” Escudero said.

At least 189 families have fled their homes in the aftermath of the attacks. The Cotabato-Tacurong Highway from Datu Saudi to Ampatuan, Maguindanao had to be closed as government troops continued to pursue the rebels.

The BIFM is led by Umbra Kato, a former leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s 150th Base Command. Kato broke off from the MILF last year as he opposed the group’s peace talks with the government.

“The attacks serve no purpose but to derail government efforts to establish peace in the region. But while the attacks are deplorable, they must not disrupt efforts by the national government and the MILF in working out a peace accord,” Escudero said.

“We must not lose sight of the ultimate objective of peace,” he added.