Malaysia deploys new set of peacekeepers to Mindanao-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
DESPITE the ongoing tension in Sabah involving the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and the Malaysian forces, Kuala Lumpur has sent a new contingent composed of 19 peacekeepers to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao.
The new head of mission of the 8th IMT contingent is Major General Dato Fadzil Bin Mokhtar, replacing Major General Dato Abdul Rahim Bin Mohd Yusuff of batch 7, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said Wednesday.
The new commander of the 54-member IMT said the changing of command may have been “wrong timing,” but he does not think their mission to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF will be affected by the crisis in Sabah.
Bloody encounter occurred on March 1 or almost three weeks after Kiram's followers landed in Lahad Datu to press their claim over Sabah. Several people, including Malaysian police, were killed during the clash.
"We are clear on our mission here, to continue monitoring the ceasefire,” Mokhtar said.
The IMT’s main headquarters is in Cotabato City while its team sites are in the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Iligan, Davao and Zamboanga.
The IMT-member countries are Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Libya and Norway.
The monitoring body has a military contingent of 19 members from Malaysia, 15 from Brunei, 14 from Indonesia and for development, humanitarian and rehabilitation aspects, two each from Japan, Norway and the European Union.
The IMT was established in 2004 to monitor the ongoing peace process between the Philippine government and the MILF.
Its task is to observe the implementation of cessation of hostilities signed between both parties, conduct field verifications on reported violations and coordinate closely with the Joint GPH (Government of the Philippines)-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and the local monitoring teams.
Malaysia has been facilitating the peace talks between the government and the MILF since 2001. (SDR/Sunnex)