Monday Nov, 28 2022 02:03:44 PM

Truce ends Army-MILF showdown in Basilan

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 16:15 PM Fri Nov 11, 2022
197
By: 
John M. Unson
Signatories show the agreement reached Thursday, meant to end hostilities in Ungkaya Pukan. (From MILF Ceasefire Committee)

COTABATO CITY - Local executives assured Friday to help monitor the interim truce meant to stave off hostilities between the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.

Four MILF members and three soldiers were Killed in the three day clashes in Barangay Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan that started Tuesday.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman, chairman of the multi-sector provincial peace and order council, said Friday he is thankful to the MILF’s Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities, led by Cotabato City-based Butch Malang and members of their Joint Ad-hoc Action Group for cooperating with military officials in forging a local ceasefire in Ungkaya Pukan.

“Now we can freely extend relief services to thousands of residents affected by the conflict,” Salliman told reporters Friday.

The commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, representatives from the military’s Western Mindanao Command and Malang signed Thursday the two-page ceasefire agreement that obliged MILF forces and soldiers to reposition away from the barangays in Ungkaya Pukan where they figured in deadly encounters.

Gerry Salapuddin, administrator of the Southern Philippines Development Authority who is from nearby Tuburan town in Basilan, said Friday religious and political leaders in the province ought to help enforce the ceasefire too.

“There must be public cooperation in seeing to it that all of the terms stated in the agreement are religiously complied with by both sides,” Salapuddin, former chairman of the Basilan Revolutionary Committee of the Moro National Liberation Front, said.

He said he will prod the present leaders of the MNLF in Basilan to help restore peace and calm in Ungkaya Pukan.

The hostilities in Ungkaya Pukan were reportedly sparked by failure in coordination among Army units chasing a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits and MILF forces residing in the area.

The gunfights in Barangay Ulitan displaced more than 4,000 families, now in makeshift evacuation sites and school campuses.

Local officials in Ungkaya Pukan have also pledged to help oversee the enforcement of the ceasefire via their municipal peace and order council. 

 

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