Bravo asks Kato to return to BIAF

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/25 April) – Abdurahman Macapaar also known as Commander Bravo, one of the three Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) field commanders declared “rogue” by the government, has sent a four-man delegation to convince Amiril Umra Kato to return to the fold of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

Kato formed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) around March 2010, three months after he tendered his resignation as commander of the MILF’s 105th Base Command.

The four-man team, headed by a certain M. Khalid Al- Haj, was able to meet Kato and some of his lieutenants last April 20 in an undisclosed location in the mountains of Maguindanao, according to a MILF statement posted Sunday on its website,

Dubbed “Bravo Initiative Unity Team,” the delegation was allowed “to exhaust all efforts to make Kato and his group to realize their shortcomings and return to the fold of the BIAF” though the group did not have the official approval of the MILF Central Committee.

The statement said the team had relayed the following messages to Kato: that the mission is not only a visitation of comrades in the Front but as real brothers in Jihad; and, to understand the real problem of the relationship between Kato and the MILF leadership.

The team stressed to Kato that in Islam, obedience to a leader is still mandatory “for as long as the Amir (leader) stands for the prayer and does not command to commit sins.”

“None of these has been committed by the Murad-led MILF,” said an unnamed aide of the team.

Kato said he had wondered about how he stood with the MILF when the government declared its Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) on July 23, 2009 and the MILF responded with a Suspension of Military Action (SOMA) two days later.

He said the two parties agreed to a ceasefire but excluded him and commanders Bravo of Lanao del Norte and Alim Ali Pangalian of Sarangani from the coverage for their role in the skirmishes in August 2008 in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte after the Supreme Court declared the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) as unconstitutional.

Both Kato and Bravo carry a P10-million reward for their capture, while Pangalian has a P5-million bounty dead or alive. (MindaNews)