MILF protests arrest of members in bombings aftermath

The MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (MILF CCCH), in a protest letter filed on January 15, said the arrests are prohibited hostile acts and are "blatant" violations of the ceasefire agreement.

Von al Haq, MILF CCCH chair said he hopes it will not affect the peace process as they await a formal response from the government CCCH.

The MILF CCCH said it is the first protest this year. The number of protests last year was less than 10.

The MILF cited three incidents of arrests in the protest letter, according to a report posted on the MILF website, Monday.

In Cotabato City, the MILF said, three members were arrested: Surab Anok on January 12;  and Mike Dalama and Andy Kalid on January 13. Two friends of Dalama and Kalid were also arrested: Norodin Salik and Esmael Abo. They are detained at the PAPA 1 of the Philippine National Police in Cotabato City, luwaran.com reported.

Anok was nabbed  by captors on board an L-300 van at around 3 p.m. January 12 along Bonifacio Street near a shopping center in Cotabato City, while Dalama and Kalid were nabbed at around 4:30 p.m. on January 14 at a restaurant in City Arcade, with friends  Salik and Abo, who were also arrested with them, according to luwaran.com.

In Zamboanga City, MILF member Hussein Ahaddin  was arrested was arrested at Brgy Muti, Zamboanga Ci on January 12, the website reported.

Rasid Ladiasan, CCCH Secretariat head said filing a protest on a ceasefire violation is a normal process. He does not think it will impact on the peace process.

The MILF CCCH said they sought action from the government CCCH as the cases are prohibited hostile act under paragraph 3.1.1 of the Implementing Guidelines of the Security Aspect of the GRP– MILF Agreement on Peace of 2001. It said it is also a blatant violation of the MILF– GRP Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities.

In a joint statement issued evening of January 10, the MILF and the government CCCH condemned "to the highest degree" the bombings that night in the cities of General Santos, Kidapawan and Cotabato. Army Brig. Gen. Edgardo Gurrea for the Philippine government and Al Haq for the MILF, signed the statement.

Six persons were killed and 26 others injured when a homemade bomb exploded near a lotto station in General Santos City at 5:50 p.m. At 8:45 p.m. two persons were injured when another improvised bomb exploded in Kidapawan City. At 9:30 p.m. in Cotabato City, two garbage collectors were injured when a bomb exploded as they were retrieving garbage bins.

Al Haq expressed fears government operatives "are doing indiscriminate arrest which totally undermines the GRP-MILF peace process" after the explosions.

Al Haq was quoted as saying the MILF and its members are not behind the blasts and that the government should not weaken the gains and processes of the peace talks.

Since September last year, the negotiations had been stalled following an impasse on the territory strand of the discussions on ancestral domain. The MILF is yet to respond formally to a new government proposal submitted in November.

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