Friday, 10 August 2012 10:58
Officer-in-Charge OIC) Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Mujiv Hataman has strongly condemned the aggression in the towns in Maguindanao involving the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters(BIFF).
In a press statement, Hataman deplored that the act is especially reprehensible during this time of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, when devout Muslims are in the observance of fasting and are supposed to exercise utmost restraint.
The Acting ARMM governor declared the attack is an utter disrespect of Islamic values and of the lives of countless civilians who will have to endure the effects of conflict even in the midst of the holy month.
“The BIFF should uphold Islamic values and respect for civilian lives more than any other interest and to exhaust peaceful means to address valid grievances,” Hataman said.
“We appeal to all stakeholders to help stop this latest round of violence in the province and prevent its possible escalation,” he said.
Hataman, likewise, appealed to the peace panels of both the government and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) not to get distracted by this isolated incident and allow it to affect the encouraging gains in the peace process.
Meanwhile, other Muslim leaders also condemned the offensives simultaneously launched until early dawn of Monday by a breakaway armed Moro group in at least five Maguindanao towns.
Maguindanao Representative Simeon Datumanong said the attacks were uncalled for at a time when efforts were geared toward a peaceful resolution of the decades-old Moro conflict.
Ghazzali Jaafar, political vice-chair of the MILF, said regrettably many Muslims were still coping with economic crisis, an offshoot of past armed conflict, when the attacks took place.
Jaafar said the BIFF should not have mounted the attacks, if it was only triggered by plans to exact vengeance for the death of one of their comrades.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said some truckloads of rice for the evacuees, mostly sheltered in public school grounds were halted on road by government forces in Ampatuan, Maguindanao for security reason, as some sections of the General Santos-Cotabato.
Members of the BIFF, which split MILF, assaulted bases of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Datu Piang, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Ampatuan towns in Maguindanao and in Barangay Kapinpilan, Midsayap town in North Cotabato.
The attacks left undetermined civilians and rebels dead and militiamen wounded, as well as thousands of civilians fleeing their homes.
By Hader Glang
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