Friday, August 29, 2008

Rumors Of Impending MILF Attacks Send Zamboanga Residents Into Panic

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 29, 2008) – Villagers in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga were thrown into panic after reports spread that Muslim rebels would launch an attack.

Television news pictures showed residents, many of them carrying bags of clothes, as police prowl cars and a military armored vehicle patrolled the village of San Roque late Thursday.

They said cell phone text messages warned them that Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels would mount attacks in the village. But soldiers and policemen who rushed to the scene found no signs of any rebels or that an attack was imminent.

Text messages have been circulating in Zamboanga City about impending MILF attacks after residents staged a huge a rally against the inclusion of at least six Muslim enclaves here in the ancestral domain deal between Manila and the MILF, which are currently holding peace talks.

The Zamboanga City Council on Thursday also tagged two rogue MILF leaders, Ameril Kato and Abdurahman Macapaar, as terrorists after they led a series of attacks recently in the North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Sarangani provinces.

Security forces have been pursing the two rebel commanders in Mindanao.North Cotabato also urged President Gloria Arroyo to declare the MILF a terrorist group. Both Zamboanga City and North Cotabato are included in the proposed Muslim homeland deal.

Manila on Friday said it has abandoned the homeland deal with the MILF, but would still pursue peace talks with the rebel group.

Government and rebel peace negotiators last month have initially signed the memorandum of agreement on the ancestral domain. But the Supreme Court stopped the signing of the deal after some lawmakers and politicians opposed to the accord filed separate petitions, saying, there were no public consultations.

The accord would have granted Muslims their own homeland in more than 700 villages across Mindanao, but the deal also sparked a series of protests from politicians and residents opposed to the inclusion of their areas to the agreement that will make up the so-called Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. (Mindanao Examiner)

1 comment:

AdB said...

Why did the government engage, nay, commit the Republic to an agreement with rebels knowing that the provisions of the agreement are bound to be illegal or at best, questionable.

With the battery of lawyers the leadership in our govt have at their disposal, they showed extremely bad faith. I am not surprised that the reaction of the "other party" is violent.

Absolutely gobsmacking in the extreme.

Our leadership must be held accountable on all fronts, moral and legal.