MILF joins probe of Lanao Sur incident

By Noel Punzalan

April 6, 2019, 10:21 am

COTABATO CITY -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is set to conduct its own inquiry of Thursday’s encounter in Madamba, Lanao del Sur that claimed the lives of four MILF members and wounded eight police personnel. 

“There was no prior coordination by the police with the MILF in the area, so there was this encounter,” Von Al-Haq, spokesperson of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said over a local radio station on Saturday.

He said the site of the encounter is part of an MILF area in Madamba. 

Four MILF members were killed while eight policemen were injured in running gun battles that began at 1 a.m. Thursday and waned at 8 p.m. on the same day. 

A police team was armed with arrest warrants issued by a local court to get murder suspects Usop Malubay, Abdulaziz Macalatas Abombay, Zanodin Macalatas Ameril, Alican Macabuntal alias Makig Usman, and Usman Barating Macabuntal in Barangay Ilian of Madamba town when the firefight erupted. 

Col. Madzgani Mukaram, director of the Lanao del Sur provincial police, said his men carried out the operation as there was no known MILF zone in Madamba. 

“We reviewed our list of MILF sites in the province but there was no mention of any MILF-acknowledged area in Madamba,” Mukaram said. 

Brig. Gen. Graciano Mijares, police director for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has ordered all police units in Lanao del Sur to remain on alert status following the Madamba incident. 

The MILF has sent a team of emissaries to the Lanao area to clear matters with the government-MILF coordinating peace panels. (PNA)