July 24, 2012 News:A member of the MILF Central Committee has requested the Malaysian=led International Monitoring Team (IMT) to investigate the raid conducted by members of the Police Special Action Force (SAF) allegedly in pursuit of members of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) hiding in the area on July 16, 2012.
“This is a repeat of the Albarka incident in Basilan in October 2010 when Army Special Forces attacked MILF forces in the guise of serving a warrant of arrest on ASG. As a result, 19 of them were killed during the ensuing firefight.”
This was the statement of Muhammad Ameen, chair of the MILF Secretariat, in calling for an investigation of the incident where civilians were used by the raiders as “human shields” to protect themselves from attack.
“There was no coordination at all either through the MILF Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) or through the MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) which has jurisdiction over the matter,” he added.
The preliminary report of the Bantay Ceasefire, an affiliate of the IMT and CCCHs, said that aside from the .50 caliber machinegun taken by the raiders, they also looted civilian properties including one chainsaw, one hand watch, 10 noodles, two chickens, two wallets contini8ng P10,000.00.
The investigation also stated that Colonel Lucero of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade denied any knowledge of the raid, saying the SAF came all the way from Region X.
“I was commanded to remain silent,” the Colonel was reported to have said.
Ameen said that when the dust of the raid settled, there was no ASG or JI captured or killed, but reports of looting by the raiders and the herding of the civilians, as human shield, including an elderly woman named Noraida Makasimbar, and three sons: Fahad (8 yars old), Koko (4), and a sick child (one year old), and more than a hundred civilians, who were about to register that day.
The MILF-AHJAG was furnished of the report of the alleged presence of the JI and ASG in said area, but while it was concluding its investigation, the raid was suddenly ordered by higher Police headquarters.
“This is ridiculous,” one member of the MILF-AHJAG told Luwaran, without elaborating.