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MILF will ‘never’ surrender commanders in attacks–official

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:31:00 08/21/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will “never” surrender two of its commanders linked to attacks in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, and the two will “fight it out” with government forces who will attempt to apprehend them, the chief peace negotiator of the rebel group said Thursday.

“We are a revolutionary organization. We will never turn over our men to them. We have our own internal justice. They will stand trial with us if they commit any offense,” Mohager Iqbal said in a phone interview.

Asked what would happen if security forces attempt to arrest MILF commanders Ameril Umbra Kato and Abdullah Macapaar alias Commander Bravo, Iqbal said: “We will not surrender [the two commanders]. They will fight it out.”

Kato led attacks on 15 villages in North Cotabato province earlier this month while Macapaar led attacks on five towns in Lanao del Norte province last Monday.

The North Cotabato fighting left two soldiers and 31 fighters killed while the Lanao del Norte attacks left 28 civilians, three soldiers, and a policeman killed, the military said.

The attacks came after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order that stopped the signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) between government and rebel peace negotiators, which would have paved the way for the expansion of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) into the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

“On the part of the MILF, it is a done deal,” Iqbal said, when asked on the government’s plan to renegotiate the MOA-AD, adding, “We will not renegotiate, tapos na yun e [It’s been settled].”

Iqbal said the MILF was looking at “options” in the peace talks, but declined to elaborate.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-08-21T09:18:53+00:00UTC08bUTCThu, 21 Aug 2008 09:18:53 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am08

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