August 8, 2012 – A civilian was killed and two others were wounded when hit by the mortar shelling of the government forces at 9pm last night at Barangay Satan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
Esmail Abdullah died on the spot while Musa Mahmod and Tamano Kalantungan were severely wounded by the shelling, report from the field stated.
The army fired mortar rounds following the guerrilla maneuvers and sporadic firings by the elements of the so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) from adjacent areas of Satan, the report said.
Unfortunately, civilians were hit by the misfiring.
“Civilians must be spared from these fighting, international humanitarian laws and human rights must be respected,” the report stressed.
Clashes between government forces and BIFF erupted following the simultaneous attacks staged by BIFF on military detachments and along the national highway from Barangay Bagan in Talayan to Barangay Kauran in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, and in Barangay Tugal, Midsayap, Cotabato Province starting 11:20pm last August 5, 2012.
Sporadic encounters between the two sides ensued since then and the military said it is still maintaining active defensive posture.
BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry said in media interview the attacks were conducted to avenge the death of a boy who was killed in alleged ambush by paramilitary / military troops when they were passing at hill 224 more than a month ago.
However, various groups took the offensives on BIFF as deliberate act to derail if not to sabotage the current peace process and negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIL).
Condemnation to the strongest terms by groups from different sectors of civil society lambasted the BIFF actions.
The peace talks between the government and MILF, which now on its final stretch in forging a framework agreement for the peaceful solution to the conflict, started yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Both the GPH and MILF Peace Negotiating Panel expressed confidence that the peace talks will not be affected in any way by the offensives launched by BIFF.