August 3, 2012 News – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) categorically denied any coordination made by the government authorities on the operation against alleged members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last July 26, 2012.
A leader of MILF based in Basilan made the clarification in reaction to claim of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin that Commander Dan Asnawi was “informed” of the operation against alleged ASG members.
“Brother Hadji Dan has been a target of government operations in Basilan despite the effective ceasefire between the government and MILF, and it is totally unbelievable that he will be informed by government authorities of operations against ASG,” he said.
“There is no direct communication line to Hadji Dan by any military officer. The military had been running after Brother Dan and definitely he will not be informed of military operation,” he added.
Sec Gazmin had pinned down MILF’s commander involvement during the clash between the Philippine Army troops and ASG members at Upper Cabengbeng in Sumisip, Basilan last July 26, 2012.
According to reports, 10 government soldiers died during that encounter and eight fatalities on the side of ASG.
“We have filed a protest [before the ceasefire panels]. We have sent a letter of protest because of the involvement of one MILF commander,” Gazmin said in a press briefing.
Sought for comment, the MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) said the government operations against ASG should be coordinated through the GPH and MILF Adhoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) and subsequently the AHJAG will coordinate with MILF.
“That operation was not coordinated with MILF CCCH,” Said Shiek, MILF CCCH Chairman, said.
“We could have properly informed Brother Dan and not the government if our counterpart with the government had coordinated the operation,” he said.
“The government did not observe the established coordination protocol in this case constituting blatant disregard and infraction of the ceasefire accord,” Shiek said.
“If the government really wanted to coordinate then coordination should have been undertaken through the CCCH so we can be true to upholding the primacy of the peace process and the ceasefire,” he said.
The problem there is rido which the government military should not have been involved.
Accordingly, the operation was conducted by security group of a rubber plantation based in Sumisip against individuals who are in conflict with them over land conflict situated within the rubber plantation.
The military troops backed up instead of stopping the security troops from conducting operations individuals they are in conflict of.
“Why reinforced the individuals identified with the security group of a plantation engaged in feud. The government soldiers should not take side in either party to a feud,” he said.
Initiatives to resolved the land conflict should have been undertaken and supported instead of the military taking side.
The MILF leader in Basilan asked Sec Voltaire to not point any blame against MILF or it commander on what happened in Simisip.
“There was no coordination, so do not put the blame to MILF and Brother Dan,” he said.