MILF denies keeping suspects in Maguindanao massacre

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Thursday, November 22, 2012


COTABATO CITY -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday denied reports that some of its men are coddling suspects in the infamous “Maguindanao Massacre,” which left 58 people dead, including 33 journalists.

In a statement, Von Al-Haq, speaking for the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), said their organization has been religiously observing the provisions of the 1997 general agreement on cessation of hostilities with the government.

Among its provisions was clearly stated that the MILF will not harbor fugitives and terrorists. Should they seek refuge in MILF identified areas, they will be turned over to the government, Al Haq said.

Al-Haq also denied reports that some of the massacre suspects, one of which is Bahnarin Ampatuan, a grandson of the detained former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., have already joined the MILF.

He said MILF forces in Maguindano and nearby areas are working on a mechanism with the government ceasefire panel about possible arrests of suspects in the bloody carnage.

In 2009, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Toto Mangudadatu, then aspiring to be the next provincial executive, had allowed his wife, Genalyn, to file his certificate of candidacy for the 2010 elections in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, his rival’s stronghold.

Escorted by relatives and journalists, Mrs. Mangudadatu led a convoy of about 10 vehicles en route to Shariff Aguak when flagged down by around 200 armed men, led by then Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

All the people in the convoy, at gun-point, were ordered to proceed to Barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao and mercilessly massacred using assault rifles and sub-machineguns.

The suspects tried to bury the victims and some vehicles in a mass grave using a back hoe in an effort to cover the crime.

It was the worst election related violence and the worst single attack against media in the world.

Mangudadatu will lead the 3rd year anniversary activities at the massacre site on Friday. (PNA)

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