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General walks out of Iligan meeting on Lanao troubles

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To protest reports troops did not act fast enough

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:07:00 08/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines — An Army brigade commander turned emotional and walked out on a meeting of defense and local government officials in Iligan City in protest of reports that troops did not respond fast enough when Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels attacked several Lanao del Norte towns last Monday.

Television footage showed Brigadier General Mark Antonio Supnet saying he was taking “full responsibility” for what happened in the province but stressed that the troops should not be accused of “not moving.”

“I was expecting them to tell me, thank you 104th Brigade for protecting Iligan City. I was not expecting that the military was not protecting [civilians],” he said as he stood up from his seat.

“I accept full responsibility for what’s happening in Lanao, but don’t tell me that your AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] is not moving,” he said.

Supnet only returned after he was appeased by Commodore Alex Pama, senior military assistant of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., who presided over the meeting. He was holding back tears as he took his seat.

A combat veteran, Supnet saw action against Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants on Jolo Island before his brigade was transferred to Central Mindanao.

On Monday, MILF fighters attacked five towns in Lanao del Norte, killing more than 40 people, including an Army lieutenant colonel, and burning houses and buildings before they were driven back by a military counterattack.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-08-20T07:24:06+00:00UTC08bUTCWed, 20 Aug 2008 07:24:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am08

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