24 firearms seized from MILF rebels in Maguindanao

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COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Feb) — Troops from the 40TH Infantry Battalion confiscated 24 high-powered firearms from Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels at a checkpoint in Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao.

Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) put on the ground caliber .50 long-range Barret sniper rifles as they prepare for formation inside Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao 9 July 2012 at the end of the four-day Bangsamoro Leaders Assembly. MindaNews file photo

Capt. Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao said the incident took place on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Barangay Melib.

He said the soldiers found the firearms hidden beneath a yellow Bongo-Mazda type truck.

“When our troops checked the legality of the firearms, it turned out they have no pertinent legal authority to carry such weapons,” he said in a statement.

Commander Orly Gampung of the MILF 106th Base Command led the group of rebels.

Eighteen M16 riffles, five M14 riffles and one M16 with an attached M203 grenade launcher were confiscated from them.

The rebels submitted themselves to the soldiers and explained they were sent to help ease the tension brewing in nearby Ampatuan and Datu Abudullah Sangki towns between their comrades caused by land disputes covering a banana plantation.

As part of the ceasefire agreement between government and the MILF, the military referred the incident to Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) for its action.

On Wednesday the confiscated firearms were returned to the MILF. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)

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