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Encounter not ‘massacre’—MNLF

BANGSAMORO HEARING: Moro National Liberation Front chairman Datu Abul Khayr Alonto attends the Bangsamoro Basic Law public hearing at the Philippine Senate in Pasay City Monday, February 2, 2015. The BBL is necessary for a lasting peace in Mindanao, Alonto said. The hearing is held to determine the constitutionality of the BBL. (PRIB Photo by Joseph Vidal/02 February 2015).

The clash between the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano was a plain clash and not a “massacre” as some say, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chief Abul Khayr Alonto on Monday said.

The SAF troopers lost 44 of its members in the aftermath of the bloody clash while MILF lost 17 of its men, and calling it a massacre would be a disservice to the fallen trrops, Alonto said during the Senate committee hearing on the proposed Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“As a veteran of the Mindanao war, I wish to express our indignation in the use of the word massacre in describing the incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Those 44 police SAF commandos who were part of 392 fully geared combatants that entered the MILF base command alongside their bounty hunter informants and civilian military guides, 17 mujaheeden were killed—all in the line of duty,” Alonto said.

“The MILF defended their community and the PNP SAF commandos were under order from their superior and both sides fought valiantly to their last breath believing that they were doing this for their country. Saying it was a massacre is a great disservice to the name of those men of valor,” he added.

The MNLF official also expressed hope that the peace talks between the government and MILF would proceed to prevent resumption of war.

“We cannot support the resumption of war in Mindanao. The incident should all the more compel the enactment of the BBL,” Alonto urged.

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