6 years on, MILF maintains Mamasapano carnage due to PNP-SAF’s lack of coordination 

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 25 January) – Exactly six years ago today, 25 January, the Mamasapano carnage during the previous Aquino administration shocked the nation, which the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the families of the 44 fallen commandos of the elite Special Action Forces (SAF) commemorated anew with a candle-lighting and wreath-laying ceremony.

PROBING MAMASAPANO. Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales, during her office’s conduct of investigation, visits the corn field in Mamasapano, Maguindanao where 44 operatives of the PNP-SAF died in a clash with Moro rebels on 25 Jan 2015. MindaNews file photo by Ferdinandh Cabrera

Six years on, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continued to blame the PNP- SAF for the Mamasapano clash that left dead what have now been known as the “SAF 44.”

Butch Malang, chair of the MILF’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), said Monday the PNP-SAF violated the government and MILF’s ceasefire agreement and the Implementing Guidelines of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group for failing to coordinate the operations through the established protocols of the ceasefire mechanisms.

“If there was proper coordination of the police operation, that deadly incident would not have happened,” he told MindaNews on the phone.

While sympathies poured for the SAF 44, Malang noted that the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the front’s armed wing, also lost 17 fighters in the clash with the police commandos.

Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, who were familiar with the terrain just like the MILF fighters, joined the fighting and pounded the operating troops with high-powered firearms.

At least five civilians were also killed during the police operation in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, a fifth class municipality in Maguindanao province.

Dubbed Operation Exodus, the police commandos were out to capture Malaysian national Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, who was on the US government’s list of most wanted international terrorists with a bounty of $5 million.

Marwan was later confirmed killed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation though DNA testing and photographs taken on the man killed by the operating troops.

The BIFF, a splinter of the MILF, was allegedly coddling Marwan, a known bomb-making expert, in Mamasapano town.

CANDLES FOR PEACE. Students, faculty members and civil society organizations light candles not only for the 44 fallen PNP-SAF operatives but also to call for peace and justice during a prayer rally on 4 Feb 2015 at Rizal Park in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by Toto Lozano

Malang said the MILF has submitted their formal complaint against the PNP-SAF to the GPH-MILF Peace Implementing Panels, which was constituted in March 2017.

“But until now, we are still waiting for the result of our protest,” he said in Filipino.

A press release during the 18th Congress from the office of Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Order, dated January 27, 2016 on the Mamasapano probe stated: “The clear conclusion was that ‘inadequate Intelligence, poor planning and lack of coordination’ resulted in ‘fatal mistakes’ that cost the lives of 44 SAF officers, 23 Moro fighters and 5 civilians and gravely affected the peace process.”

On Monday, the Maguindanao police command paid tribute to the SAF 44 by lighting candles and a wreath laying ceremony at their provincial headquarters in Shariff Aguak.

The 44 SAF fighters killed in the Mamasapano clash was the biggest single loss in the history of the elite police command.

Six years after the Mamasapano clash, Malang said the BIAF maintained a “friendly relation” with government security forces, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Since 2019, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim (BARMM) is governed by the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Ahod Ebrahim as interim chief minister of the Bangsamoro government.

Ebrahim is also the chair of the MILF. He is popularly known as Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, his nom de guerre.

The creation of the Bangsamoro region is the key component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace deal signed by the government and the MILF in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

Comments

comments