Photo by: Zubair Guiaman/ MILF CCCH Secretariat

We have limited options in Marawi Crisis, MILF says

The MILF has limited options as far as its supposed role in the current bloody crisis in Marawi City where so-called ISIS-inspired Maute group fighters and government forces are locked up in fighting since almost a month ago. The fighting started on May 23 and it is still continuing but with lesser intensity compared to when it started.

This was the statement of one senior MILF leaders, who spoke to reporter of Luwaran on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

However, he said the most immediate response of the MILF was to offer a humanitarian assistance which government welcomed immediately.

“This is the most practical the MILF can do under the current situation which is a moral responsibility for everyone to do so.”

“We have volunteers on the ground, alongside government counterpart, and they are doing exceptionally well in helping retrieve trapped civilians amid hails of bullets and bombs.”

Asked to clarify further his statement, he has this to say: 1) the MILF still lacks legal authority to involve directly in the conflict or fighting; 2) the fact is that relationship between the government and MILF are only defined through the peace process; and so far, no such arrangement has been made except the creation of a peace corridor as a pathway for fleeing civilians and relief goods; and 3) the government has the strength to deal with the crisis and it is only a matter of time before the city would be liberated.

However, he vehemently abhorred the actuation of the Maute group in deliberately making Marawi City and other civilian-populated areas as their battle zones.

“Seeking paradise at the expense of the civilians is alien to Islam” he added.

He said the MILF considers the utmost safety of the civilians as the first consideration in planning.

Asked about his comment on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which the Maute group is reportedly associated with, he recalled that all the grand scholars of Islam have all condemned the group as non-Islamic organization.

He mentioned the names of Grand Imam of Egypt’s al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al Tayeb, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al ASheikh, Abdul Rahman al Sudais, Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shaqi Allam, Yusuf al Qaradawi, Head of The International Union of Muslim Scholars, and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, as among those who have issued rulings (fatwas) condemning and disowning the ISIS as representative if Islam.