MILF combatants held for passing thru Maguindanao hiway without coordination

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 2 Nov) – Joint operatives from Maguindanao police and troops of the 6th Infantry Division have flagged a convoy of heavily armed combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) 105th Base Command as they passed through the highway in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao Monday evening allegedly without coordination.

Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality, Maguindanao. Map courtesy of Google

Col. Jibin Bongcayao, commander of Maguindanao provincial police, said they have now in custody 35 members of the MILF’s 105th Base Command and confiscated 31 high-powered firearms.

The police official noted that the armed MILF members were violating the agreement between the Moro group and the government when they passed through main thoroughfares without coordinating with authorities.

“We are preparing to file a protest before the peace panel,” Bongcayao said.

He said they blocked the convoy of one pickup truck and two passenger vans in Barangay Dalican, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao around 9:10 p.m. Monday.

The group was led by certain Abdul Hamid Datuan, whose heavily armed men were wearing MILF camouflage uniforms.

The action, Bongcayao said, has caused alarm among residents because of the lack of coordination.

The group of Datuan came from the municipality of Kabuntalan in Maguindanao and was planning to go back to their main base in neighboring Talitay town.

They are now in the custody of the 2nd Mechanized Battalion in Talayan, Maguindanao.

Bongcayao said they have already informed the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) about the violation and is waiting for the recommendation of the peace panel.

“Based on the agreements, these armed combatants can wear their uniforms and bring their firearms within their designated recognized camps,” he pointed out.

The MILF hierarchy has yet to issue a statement. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)