MILF says it will hunt to the end militant group of wanted terrorist Abdulmalik

Mindanao Armed Conflict  • Mon Sep 11, 2017 03:31 PM  •  192   0
By John Unson
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MILF official Mohaqher Iqbal
MILF official Mohaqher Iqbal
MAGUINDANAO  – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Monday it will intensify its effort to crush a local militant group for rejecting calls to return to the fold of Islam.

The Task Force Ittihad of the MILF has been running after a 3rd faction in the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters since August 2 after its botched attempts to hoist the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in three towns in Maguindanao.

Muhaquer Iqbal, chairman of the implementing panel of the MILF, told reporters Monday that their campaign against the outlawed group is meant to prevent the spread of violent religious extremism in potential conflict flashpoint areas in the south.

Iqbal said the religious extremism being espoused by the group, led by Esmael Abdulmalik, is a turnaround from Islamic principles on tolerance, fraternalism and respect for people regardless of religions and races.

Abdulmalik, also known as Abu Toraife, was a former henchman of slain Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir, who trained him on fabrication of powerful improvised explosive devices.

The government and the MILF are bound by a 1997 interim security pact, the Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities, to mutually cooperate in maintaining law and order in far-flung areas in the south.

Sheik Abu Huraira Udasan, the grand mufti of the central Mindanao Darul Iftah (House of Opinions), earlier declared “haram,” which means forbidden in Arabic, the activities of Abdulmalik’s group.

The hostilities between the MILF’s Task Force Ittihad and the group of Abdulmalik started last month when his men killed using an IED five of some 20 guerillas sent to convince him to renounce his links with ISIS-inspired benefactors in the Middle East.

Iqbal said the Darul Iftah ruling obliges the MILF, which has an on-going peace overture with Malacañang, to help the government neutralize Abdulmalik and his followers, now hiding in swampy areas in Maguindanao’s adjoining Salibo, Datu Piang and Sharif Saidona towns.

Abdulmalik has reportedly been receiving money from his contacts in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and in Lebanon remitted to his group in small amounts to avoid suspicions through dozens of conduits who are Filipino overseas workers from central Mindanao.

Sources from the two other BIFF factions, one led by Imam Bongos and the other by Imam Karialan, said the money from abroad is sent through cash remittance outfits that have branches even in small towns in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
 
The MILF already lost more than 10 members in hostilities with Abdulmalik’s group in the past five weeks.

Reports reaching the Maguindanao provincial police office and the headquarters of the Army’s 603rdBrigade and the 6th Infantry Division indicated that 27 followers of Abdulmalik have also been killed since.

Iqbal said the enactment into law of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, crafted jointly by the government and the MILF, is one concrete step towards preventing the spread of religious extremism in southern Mindanao.

The proposed law is the enabling measure for the implementation of the MILF’s final compact with Malacañang, the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

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