Rebel groups say no clash in Maguindanao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) - Senior officials from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) clarified that there was no armed encounter between the two rebel groups.
The military earlier reported that BIFM members exchanged gunfire’s with their former comrades in Kitango in the town of Datu Saudi on Monday, September 10, leaving at least two civilians injured.
BIFM spokesman Abu Misry Mama in a phone interview with Rappler said that no members of their group were involved in the firefight.
“There was no encounter between the BIFM and the MILF,” Mama said explaining that the persons involved were from the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front.
Von Al-Haq, spokesperson of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, confirmed that some individuals from the MILF were involved in the incident.
“What transpired was a strafing incident which was caused by an unresolved rido between some elements from the MILF and the MNLF,” Al-Haq said.
He clarified that the MILF members involved acted on their own and not as MILF fighters on an official mission.
Al-Haq refused to name the MILF members involved but identified a certain Metin as one of the MNLF members involved in the incident.
“The number of persons involved in the incident is very small. They were just a handful of people and not in company size,” Al-Haq said.
He commented that this is a very local conflict that must not be confused with politics.
“Leaders from both the MILF and the MNLF are now working at the ground to pacify the conflict. I think this is also a good sign that we are working together to resolve local issues,” Al-Haq said.
Meanwhile, Mama hinted that the earlier reports might be an attempt to discredit the BIFM struggle.
“Even if they would smear the name of the BIFM this would not upset us. We are like kites that would fly higher as the wind blows harder,” Mama said. - Rappler.com