Police serving warrants in Basilan found empty houses and deserted camps

But Senior Supt. Alex Macapantar said they found only empty houses and deserted camps of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Barangay Guinanta, Al Barkah town, scene of the bloody clash between the Philippine Marines and the rebels last July 10.

"Wala kaming nadatnan doon. Walang tao. Pinasok namin pati ang mga kampo ng MILF pero wala din sila (We found no one there. We even searched the MILF camps but no one was there)," Macapantar told Mindanews in a telephone interview.

Macapantar said 300 policemen went back to Tipo-tipo town empty-handed and are waiting for instructions whether to continue searching for the suspects in Barangay Guinanta.

Von Al Haq, MILF CCCH chief said the police did not coordinate with them when they entered Barangay Guinanta this morning.

"I think the police coordinated with the local monitoring team. Wala namang putukan nangyari (No gunbattle occurred). I presumed there was some coordination," he said.

A source in the CCCH team told MindaNews that the three MILF brigades- around 150 men– moved away for two kilometers to avoid any skirmish with the policemen.

"But I heard the MILF warned the policemen to go back to Tipo-tipo town by 6 pm today because they are returning to their camps," the source said.

Al Haq reminded the government that any MILF suspect who would be arrested by the police should be turned over to them. He said the MILF has it own justice system, the Sharia court, and expects the government to respect it.

Gonzales said the government is bent on arresting the suspects to send a strong signal that such atrocity would not be allowed to happen again. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

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