7 MILF members killed by IS group were not among those decommissioned

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SHARIFF SAYDONA MUSTAPHA, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 05 October) Seven members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) military wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), were killed in a half day battle against an Islamic State-linked group here.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Gener, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion said the firefight started early Friday morning in Sitio Tinulusan, Dasawao 4 in Shariff Saydona town against the group headed by Salahuddin Hassan of the Dawlah Islamiyah operating in Maguindanao.

Families claim the remains of the seven members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces who were killed in a clash with an IS-linked group on October 4, 2019. in Shariff Saydona, Maguindanao. (Photo courtesy of Macks Kulit)

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said no joint law enforcement operation (with the MILF) was conducted to run after the terrorist group “but we are assisting the MILF brothers fighting for peace in the marshland (with) mortars and other support.”

Carreon told MindaNews the clash was a result of a long-time feud between Hassan’s group and the BIAF’s inner guard.

Von Al Haq, MILF spokesperson. declined to comment on the incident but confirmed to MindaNews that the seven were members of the BIAF’s National Guard Command.

The seven were still armed because, according to Al Haq, they were not among those decommissioned last month.

Last month, at least 1,000 combatants were decommissioned in rites attended by President Rodrigo Duterte in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Police Lt. Col. Arnold Santiago said the bodies of the seven slain MILF members have been claimed by their family members.

The victims were identified as Laguiali Ali, Poangan Ganda, Kho Mamaluba, Jeomar Salansamen, Mads Maitem, Tongan Tot and Datumaniot Musbil.

Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), said they had nothing to do with the firefight.

“We are just monitoring the development. What we learned is that the MILF was overwhelmed by the forces of ISIS in Dasawao,” he said.

Ustadz Amiril Umra Kato, a commander of the MILF’s BIAF, organized the BIFF in March 2010, three months after he tendered his resignation as commander of the 105th Base Command. Kato passed away in April 2015.

The BIFF has since broken into three factions under Karialan, Turayfe and Bungos.

Abu Misri Mama’s group later claimed they had pledged allegiance to the IS but has reportedly distanced themselves from it, (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)

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