Army says Kato suffers mild stroke

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/25 November) — Breakaway Moro rebel leader Ameril Umra Kato suffered a mild stroke after a long trek with his men in the hinterlands of Maguindanao on Wednesday, a military official said.

6th Division commander Brig. Gen. Ray Ardo said they received intelligence reports that the renegade rebel leader is now ailing due to the mild stroke.

Ardo said he has offered a hospital arrest for Kato at the 6th Division’s Camp Siongco Hospital where he can be treated.

“I am willing to accommodate him in the name of peace,” the army official said.

File Photo of Ameril Umra Kato

But the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a group formed by Kato after separating from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front early this year refuted Ardo’s statement.

BIFF spokesperson Abumisry Mama said Kato collapsed after a long walk with his followers in Camp Parouk but that he did not have high blood pressure in the first place.

“He had long suffered vertigo even when we were in the jungle mostly when he feels stressed,” Mama said.

“No, thanks to General Ardo, we can manage to handle his recovery,” he said, adding Kato was being treated in a hospital outside the camp.

Kato is facing multiple murder cases in various courts for launching attacks in North Cotabato in 2008 after the botched signing of Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain leading to the deaths of many civilians.

The attack also displaced thousands of residents in North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.

The MILF had officially removed Kato from their roster on the recommendation of Muslim religious leaders. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)