Clash between soldiers, MILF averted in Lanao del Norte

Both camps await word from joint CCCH panel

MUNAI, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/ 15 November)- The Philippine Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) averted Thursday a major shooting war from erupting, a month after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) between the government and the MILF.

BACK FROM PATROL. An Army patrol arrives at their camp in Munai town in Lanao del Norte on Nov. 15, 2012. Army troops and the MILF have stand down in Kauswagan and Munai towns since Tuesday and averted a possible crisis following the threat of MILF commander Abdurahman Bravo, aka Kumander Bravo, who wanted to attend an information campaign about the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement with his armed men. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

BACK FROM PATROL. An Army patrol arrives at their camp in Munai town in Lanao del Norte on Nov. 15, 2012. Army troops and the MILF have stand down in Kauswagan and Munai towns since Tuesday and averted a possible crisis following the threat of MILF commander Abdurahman Bravo, aka Kumander Bravo, who wanted to attend an information campaign about the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement with his armed men. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

Both camps ordered their troops to stand down in Kauswagan and Munai towns in Lanao del Norte, and have agreed to stop building up or mobilizing their forces, now separated only by a stretch of rice fields in Munai town until they received words from the government and MILF joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).

The government and the MILF CCCH teams are currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, together with their respective peace panels, to settle the annexes of the FAB.

“This is a case of misunderstanding,” said Aga-Khan Mangondato Sharief of the MILF Local Monitoring Team, after a meeting with Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero, chief of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade in Iligan City, this afternoon.

 

Army troops went on high alert, sending tanks and personnel to the towns of Munai and Kauswagan after of MILF commander Abdurahman Bravo, aka Kumander Bravo, and 300 of his armed men wanted to attend an information campaign on the FAB in Barangay Delabayan on Thursday.

AVERTING A CRISIS. A civilian vehicle of the MILF Local Monitoring Team (right) passes by a checkpoint manned by Army soldiers in Munai town in Lanao del Norte on Nov. 15, 2012. Army tanks and troops were deployed in Kauswagan and Munai towns since Tuesday to counter the threat of MILF commander Abdurahman Bravo, aka Kumander Bravo, who wanted to attend an information campaign about the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement with his armed men. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

Bravo relented this morning and withdrew his forces to the old poblacion of Munai, some 18 kilometers from Barangay Delabayan in Kauswagan, site of the MILF’s FAB information campaign.

 

Lucero said Bravo’s movement with his armed men apparently violated the 1997 cease agreement between the Philippines and the MILF, which states that both the MILF and the Philippine military should inform the joint government-MILF CCCH before moving their forces to prevent misunderstanding and a shooting war.

Brig. Gen. Gilberto Jose Roa, head of the government CCCH, said their MILF counterparts did not inform them that Bravo would be moving along with his troops to Delabayan.

In their meeting this afternoon, Sharief appealed to the Philippine Army for some understanding.

“Delabayan is a small village…Bravo hails from this village and every one knows him,” Shareif said.

Sharief said he appealed to the Philippine military to allow Bravo to come to the meeting in Delabayan with 60 of his bodyguards, not 300 armed men.

After meeting for one hour with the MILF, Lucero came out and said he would allow Bravo to go to Delabayan, provided all of his bodyguards will not show their firearms “so as not to cause alarm.”

But Lucero stressed they will have to wait for the decision of the joint MILF and government CCCH teams whether they will agree to this arrangement.

“We will do everything to preserve the gains of the peace agreement,” Lucero said.

Sharief said they were amenable to Lucero’s suggestion to wait for the decision of the government-MILF CCCH panel. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

 

 

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2012/11/16/clash-between-soldiers-milf-averted-in-lanao-del-norte/

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