MILF: We will return SAF arms, personal items

Bea Cupin
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has agreed to return the firearms and personal effects of elite cops in the Mamasapano clash
RETURN FIREARMS. The MILF has agreed to return the firearms retrieved by its fighters from elite cops during the Mamasapano clash.

MANILA, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Tuesday, February 10, that it will return the arms and “retrievable personal effects” of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) members that were seized during the January 25 clash in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao.

The announcement was made through a letter sent by chief MILF peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal to Senator Grace Poe, who chairs a Senate probe into a deadly police encounter in MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) territory. 

 The MILF has decided to return the firearms and other retrievable personal iterms in deference to the peace process,” Iqbal said in a letter read by the MILF representative, MILF chair for the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) Rasid Ladiasan, during the Senate’s second hearing on the Tuesday. 

 

Ladiasan said the return of the items also manifests the “recognition of the MILF that it never wanted the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano to happen.” 

 

“Perhaps in a couple of days, MILF will be able to finish internal process to pave the way of the return,” read Iqbal’s letter.

The return of the weapons and personal effects of the SAF is one of two demands made by President Benigno Aquino III  in his first address on the Mamasapano clash on January 28.

The other is for the MILF to “step aside” if military and police operations in the hunt for alleged bomb expert  Abdul Basit Usman – the other high-value target of the  SAF operation in Mamasapano who evaded authorities – involve their areas.

The PNP leadership had earlier asked the MILF to show its sincerity in the peace process by returning the weapons and personal items of the slain SAF troopers.

Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer had earlier told Rappler that there were ongoing backchannel talks between the government and the MILF on the return the weapons of elite cops killed in the Mamasapano clash. (READ: Govt’ MILF in backchannel talks to return SAF arms– Rappler.com

 

Bea Cupin

Bea is a journalist.