Monday, January 26, 2015

Breaking News! MILF forces massacre 30 cops in Maguindanao

In what could be the potential spoiler in peace efforts in Mindanao, reports about the clash between forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have now resulted to at least thirty members of the police force dead and five casualties from the side of the rebel group.

The clash which began morning of Sunday and still rages as I write this, happened in a small barangay of Tumakalipao in the town of Mamasapano in the province of Maguindanao. Initial reports indicate that SAF forces were on a mission to arrest two known international terrorists--Zulkifli bin Hir, alias "Marwan", a Malaysian bomb expert and Basit Usman, a Jemaah Islamiya bomb making expert.

These terrorists were reportedly hiding in an MILF camp. Von Al Haq, MILF vice-chair for military affairs say their forces fired upon the government forces because the SAF violated the peace agreement by not coordinating with them. According to the peace agreement, any military or police operation has to be coordinated with the proper authorities, in this case, the AFP and the MILF before they execute it inside MILF camps or territories claimed by the rebel group.

Two things: One, why did the MILF fired upon our government forces immediately? As partners in the peace deal, the MILF should have exercised extreme caution and maximum tolerance. Those SAF members were there to effect an arrest upon known terrorists. They were carrying legitimate warrants for the arrests of the suspects.

Why did the MILF use lethal force against these cops when they were not being engaged anyway? The very fact that one of the MILF commanders, a certain "Mama" admitted that most of those killed weren't able to retaliate because they weren't carrying loads of ammunition.

If our forces were there to fight, they would have been seen carrying tons of bullets and probably even backed up by artillery or armored personnel carriers. Or, possibly even provided with air cover. That is the usual police operation.

I presume that the MILF is still not entirely convinced or probably is still not an ally for peace by the government. What is a mere hour used to negotiate or coordinate? Such operations against high value targets are good only thru stealth and surprise. Probably those SAF elements knew that those terrorists are being coddled by some MILF and BIFF elements and informing the MILF could result to another escape by these long-wanted terrorists.

The second question is---why is there BIFF elements in the same area as the MILF? Aren't they supposed to be enemies? BIFF elements reportedly fired upon government military forces sent to augment or save those cops from catastrophe. Soldiers weren't able to save much lives because they were met with lethal force by the Muslim rebel group.

I am extremely worried that this incident would spark into a bigger war very soon. The Senate is expected to talk about the Bangsamoro Basic Law today, Monday. What happens is anybody's guess.

I am greatly displeased with the way the MILF conducted themselves. Pious Muslims always honour their word, their commitments. Those who do not, lie, and lying is a grievous sin against Allah SWT. Mujaheddins like those of the MILF know this. Violence or killing one person is the last resort. It is always best to argue one's side against another, especially a disbeliever. Killing especially a hapless or defenceless person is not acceptable to Islam.