Muslim rebels caution Philippine military

2014-04-15 13:31
Philippine soldiers aboard a humvee stand guard. (Ted Aljibe, AFP)

Philippine soldiers aboard a humvee stand guard. (Ted Aljibe, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manila - A leader of the Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group urged the military to take precautions on Tuesday after a clash in which 20 people were killed, exposing the fragile nature of a landmark peace accord signed only two weeks earlier.

Ghadzali Jaafar, vice chairperson for political affairs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf), which signed the peace accord, demanded an investigation into the incident last week on the southern island of Basilan.

The head of the armed forces, General Emmanuel Bautista, denied any suggestion that his men had targeted Milf guerrillas and said soldiers had been pursuing rival insurgents who were not party to the peace deal.

The peace deal struck with the Milf to end a 45-year conflict remains shaky as other armed groups, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group, a body on the US anti-terrorist "black list", pursue armed attacks on the army.

"Both parties must know what happened. This mistake must be remedied before so it will not again happen," Jaafar told reporters.

"My message to the military is: 'Please do not disturb the honeymoon between the Milf and Malacanang,'" he added, referring to the Philippine presidential palace.

Abu Sayyaf

At least 18 Muslim rebels died in the fighting near Tipo-tipo town on Basilan, an island where Muslim militants have long operated. Jaafar acknowledged that only four of the dead were Milf members, while the others were Abu Sayyaf militants.

"I think it was intentional, but I don't know if they know that they were attacking the Milf," Jaafar said. "Why attack the Milf at this point in time?"

The government and the Milf signed an agreement on 27 March to end the rebellion in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic state.

The conflict has killed more than 120 000, displaced 2 million and stunted growth in the resource-rich region dominated by Muslims.

The rebels promised to disband their army, lay down their weapons and rebuild communities in exchange for an autonomous government with greater power over the economy and culture. The peace deal was brokered by Malaysia.

Bautista said that soldiers at the time had been pursuing Abu Sayyaf militants, accused by authorities of kidnapping and extortion. But they ran instead into Milf members.

He said the military consulted rebel commanders in the area before mounting an operation against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

"There was no participation of Milf forces in the encounter," he said, while acknowledging that "individual members" of the Milf with links to Abu Sayyaf had become involved.

"The Milf should deal with them," Bautista said.

Family ties between many veteran rebels mean the distinction between the two groups on southern islands is often blurred.
Read more on:    milf  |  philippines

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.