MILF Tags Abu Sayyaf In Beheading Of 10 Marines In Southern Philippines

August 2, 2007 at 11:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Marines in Basilan island in South RP where security forces are preparing for a punitive action against Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels behind the beheading of ten soldiers in Al-Barka town on July 10. The MILF denies beheading the marines and blamed Thursday August 01, 2007 the gruesome murders to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service/Mark Navales)

BASILAN ISLAND, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 02 Aug) – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Thursday tagged members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group as behind the beheading of ten marine soldiers in the southern Filipino island of Basilan.

The ten soldiers were among 14 killed in fierce fighting on July 10 after they strayed inside an MILF camp in the mountain town of Al-Barka. Police and military authorities have blamed the beheading to the MILF, which is currently negotiating peace with Manila.

The MILF denied beheading the soldiers and for the first time has tagged the Abu Sayyaf in the grisly murder after finishing a weeklong joint investigation with the government.

Von Al-Haq, head of the MILF cease-fire committee and part of the investigating team, has identified four Abu Sayyaf militants involved in the beheading as Nurhasan Jamiri, Bujari Jamiri, Suaib Kalibon and Umar Indama.

“The four Abu Sayyaf are responsible in the beheading of the ten marines. They chopped off the heads of the soldiers after MILF forces have withdrawn from the battle scene in Al-Barka (town).”

“They are the same people that Basilan Representative Wahab Akbar mentioned in his privilege speech (Tuesday) in Congress,” Al-Haq told the Mindanao Examiner in an exclusive interview.

Akbar tagged the same Abu Sayyaf militants as behind the beheading of the ten soldiers. He previously implicated the son of an Imam – who was allegedly killed by troops in Al-Barka town – as behind the decapitation to avenge the death of the Muslim preacher.

Akbar said he has witnesses to back up his claims. The four Abu Sayyaf men were also involved in previous kidnappings for money in Basilan.

Al-Haq said the MILF is willing to help Filipino authorities hunt down and arrest the four Abu Sayyaf militants involved in the beheading. He said the investigating team also recommended the reactivation of the joint ad hoc action group.The ad hoc joint action group, renewed annually, had expired last month.

The MILF forged an agreement in 2004 that paved the way for rebel forces through the ad-hoc joint action group to help government hunt down terrorists and criminal elements in areas where the rebel group is actively operating.The MILF previously said other armed groups were behind the beheading of the soldiers.

Sattar Alih, head of the MILF cease-fire monitoring team in Basilan island, said rebel forces withdrew from the battle scene, leaving the bodies of soldiers behind, after military and rebels agreed to a cease-fire.

Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon previously threatened to launch punitive actions in Basilan if the MILF fails to surrender the rebels involved in the beheading.

But President Gloria Arroyo on Friday called off the planned attack to give way for the joint investigation. The postponement of offensives came days before the start of a three-day ASEAN summit in Manila on July 29.

The MILF warned that any attack on rebel forces in Basilan is a violation of the cease-fire agreement and could spark sympathy attacks against government targets.

Police filed murder charges against 130 suspected MILF and Abu Sayyaf militants over the killing of the soldiers, but most of them had already fled their homes to evade arrest.

Some 300 policemen were searching for the rebels since Tuesday, said Senior Superintendent Salik Macapantar, Basilan police chief. “We have our police forces searching for the accused in all corners of Basilan. They should surrender peacefully, but if they resist arrest and fight us, then we will also fight them,” he said.

About 2,000 soldiers are now on the island and hundreds more are their way to help police arrest the murderers, said Marine Colonel Ramiro Alivio, commander of military forces in Basilan island. (With a report from Mark Navales)

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