May 22, 2024

The Insider News

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Gov’t, MILF declare ceasefire in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday afternoon agreed to a ceasefire ending the gunfight between soldiers and MILF forces in Bgy. Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan province.

The ceasefire between the government and the MILF came two days after a firefight broke out between forces of the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade and members of the MILF-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces’ 114 Base Command.

The clashes, occasionally intense and sporadic, began Tuesday afternoon after a soldier stationed at a detachment in Bgy. Ulitan was slightly bruised by sniper fire from an area occupied by MILF members and lawless elements.

The gun battle resulted in the death of three soldiers and four MILF and lawless elements while a dozen government troops that included a junior officer were wounded.

Brig Gen. Arturo Rojas, Western Mindanao Command acting commander, said all three slain soldiers belonged to the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion (18IB).

In a statement yesterday, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) said the cease-fire agreement signed Thursday was facilitated by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), and the Non-Violent Peace Force (NVFP).

The GPH CCCH and AHJAG teams were led by Presidential Assistant David Diciano, head of the Office of the OPAPRU Bangsamoro Transformation Program.

Diciano met Thursday in Basilan with members of MILF CCCH and AHJAG team, commanders of Western Mindanao Command, Joint Task Force Basilan, 101st Infantry Brigade, 18 IB and the NVFP to assess the situation.

“We are happy to announce that a ceasefire agreement has been signed by the GPH and MILF, which brings to an end the armed encounter between government troops and MILF forces,” Diciano said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the cease-fire “demonstrates the desire of both parties to put an end to the armed conflict.” (PNA)