Army, MILF suffer 1 fatality each in ‘accidental’ encounter in Maguindanao

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 11 Feb) – A government trooper seriously wounded in action when government forces and Moro rebels clashed by accident in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Wednesday died while being treated at a military hospital here today.

Capt. Joann Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said members of the 1st Mechanized Brigade were pursuing outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Sitio Badak, Barangay Madia, Datu Saudi Ampatuan when they clashed with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) 105th Base Command.

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The 1st Mechanized Brigade in action in the fight against Moro rebels in Maguindanao. MindaNews photo by Ferdinandh Cabrera

“Actually, our troops did not know they were fighting the MILF forces because all our action against the BIFF were coordinated with the MILF as provided for in the ceasefire mechanism,” Petinglay said.

She identified the slain soldier as Sgt. Ronilo Quimba of the 601st Reconnaissance Company.

Von Al Haq, MILF chair for military affairs, said the unexpected encounter occurred between10 and 11 a.m. but the joint ceasefire panel and the international monitors quickly intervened.

“The intervention prevented the skirmishes from turning into a full blown Army-MILF war,” he pointed out.

Al Haq said the military unintentionally stepped into the area of the MILF under 105th Base Command head known as Hawn.

“Our troops expanded the security radius of the dredging project in Datu Salibo and it reached Barangay Madia,” Petinglay said.

She stressed there was no intention to attack the MILF in Barangay Madia.

Petinglay said the GPH-MILF ceasefire mechanism has been strengthened following the incident.

Al Haq said the ceasefire committee has been reactivated in the area to prevent similar unfortunate incidents in the future.

Al Haq admitted that one MILF fighter was killed and two others were wounded.