Monday Jul, 13 2020 09:51:23 PM

Renegade commander softens on Pikit aggression

Peace and Order • 12:15 PM Wed Jun 17, 2020
John M. Unson
The hostilities in Pikit, North Cotabato last week displaced thousands, among them children and elderly people. (John Unson)
NORTH COTABATO --- Apprehensive of criminal prosecution, a renegade Moro commander promised Wednesday to stand down from a clan war that escalated last week and displaced no fewer than 2,000 families.
Commander Butoh Sanday of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was, in fact, stripped of his leadership of an MILF group in Pikit, North Cotabato by their central committee for various offenses and for leading attacks on rival forces last week.
On his group’s behalf, Sanday assured officials of the Army’s 602nd Brigade led by Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, Pikit Mayor Sumulong Sultan and emissaries from the office of Bangsamoro Chief Minister Hadji Murad Ebrahim to reposition his followers away from the villages where they figured in a series of bloody clashes with the group of Ricky Kusain.
Kusain is also a senior MILF leader whose followers are scattered in Pikit and in nearby Pagalungan town in Maguindanao.
Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Thursday officials of the Bangsamoro government, the 602nd Brigade, the provincial police and the Pikit LGU together convinced Sanday to allow mediators to put a negotiated closure to his group’s deep-seated animosity with Kusain and his followers.
The chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Hadji Murad Ebrahim, is also chairman of the MILF.
Ebrahim’s office has been providing relief and rehabilitation support since last week to Pikit residents affected by the conflict involving the feuding Sanday and Kusain groups via the regional government’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence contingent under the office of lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, regional local government minister.
The 602nd Brigade’s focus now is the return of evacuees to the villages devastated by the skirmishes between the Sanday and Kusain groups that exacted fatalities on both sides.
There are also talks spreading around in Pikit and nearby towns purporting that certain leaders have warned Sanday of the trouble he would be in once the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 becomes a law.
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the controversial measure, opposed by various groups for having provisions that they claim are unconstitutional, on February 26 and June 3, respectively.
The law will empower the police and military to arrest suspected terrorists without warrants.

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