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Is MILF shielding BIFF?

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One cannot fully comprehend why the Moro Islamic Liberation Front had reportedly re-adopt the brutish forces of Umbra Kato just when the government forces are out to route them out in the process of unrelenting hot pursuit following the series of heinous crime it waged at the height of the Ramadan. This lends credence to the suspicion that through all these past months when Kato’s Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter were causing havoc and murdering innocent civilians including Muslims who abhor armed and even religious conflicts, was after all with tacit consent by the MILF.

The ugly reality in peace negotiation is the devious tactic of creating pocket war and instability to prove belligerence and show to the world community and the Front’s sources of funds that they are still existing. Recall that the Ulamas and even the MILF ostensibly considered Kato and his BIFF band “outcasts”. It surprises us therefore to learn that the MILF leadership made peace with the BIFF and declared that they have opened their gates to provide haven to the fleeing BIFF combatants who are being chased by the government peace keeping force. Were the attacks waged by the forces of Kato on military outposts at the height of the Holy Ramadan had the green signal from the MILF? Why should the Front provide shelter to the criminals who had no qualms in the bestial murder of unsuspecting soldiers who bear no arms in deference to the Muslim’s observance of Ramadan and burn houses of Muslim farmers who refused to be involved in the Front and for that matter Kato’s unreasonable demand for independence?

Kato and the vicious BIFF are a shattered force. They are weary and have ran short of ammunition. Kato himself is now incapacitated debilitated by the crippling stroke that rendered him inutile. Coming to succor in the guise of signing a peace pact is like playing around with the Armed Forces of the Philippines who are out to beat them soundly and bring their leaders to justice any time soon. There should be no turning back and if the MILF shield them from pursuing government forces then let them be accountable for the consequence.

The only assuring guarantee that the government can give Muslim and Christian farmers to return to their farm lands and abandoned homes is when the elements of the forces of Kato are all accounted for. Remember that not a few of the war dogs of the now detained Andal Ampatuan of the infamous Maguindanao massacre have reportedly joined the combatants of Kato. It is not farfetched that the vicious attacks on the Muslim and Christian communities at the height of the Ramadan was on the prodding of these elements. We all know too well that like the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf the Andal’s men have no regard for religious beliefs and are bereft of any political ideology. They are the killing machines who simply find satisfaction in seeing their fellowmen suffer in agony.

The MILF should deal with the apprehension that embracing Umbra Kato and his men are merely to extend to them the mantle of protection of the peace pact. This will allow the ailing Kato to recover and for his forces to regroup, rearm and recruit. With this development, how can we share the optimism of the government peace negotiators that a peace accord will soon be signed? And if at all this will come to a fruition, will this one last and not rear another head of a secessionist front?

By Menardo Wenceslao




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