AFP uses excessive force against Muslim communities

August 21, 2008

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had been employing excessive force in its indiscriminate military cleansing operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) the past days. Heavy air strikes from OV 10 bomber plane, F5 and MG520 Helicopter gunships and artillery and mortar shelling were unleashed by the AFP soon after the ground attack it perpetrated against the MILF forces. The firefight lasted for few hours with the reconnaissance troops moving out and gave way for the dastardly air bombs.
At around 550am yesterday, the AFP attacked the MILF forces at Barangays Kuloy, Tapikan 1, Tapikan 2 and Kuloy all of Shariff Aguak Maguinadano. But this time, the aggressive AFP engaged not only the 105th Base Command of Ustaz Ameril Umbra Kato but also the Task Force Ittihad (Unity) of the MILF Central Committee.

The ferocious assault dispersed civilians, destroyed properties and livelihood and pulverized downtrodden Muslim communities. Neighboring towns of Datu Piang, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay Ampatuan, Mamasapano were adversely affected.

Task Force Ittihad is an arm of the MILF Central Committee designated in the MILF communities in 10 Maguindanao towns to promote unity among the MILF, local government units, AFP / PNP units in the area and their constituencies.

The attack on Ittihad is tantamount to a direct attack on the MILF highest leadership, GRP – MILF peace process and ceasefire.

Thousands of civilian fled with their children and belongings placed in carts carried by carabao. Now they are staying in makeshifts under trees, along the roads and relatives.

Two elements of the AFP were killed following their attack.

Last night, hundreds of AFP troops consolidated at Barangay Olandang, Midsayap, Cotabato believed to be preparing for another attack against the MILF forces.

This morning at around 5am, the same troops attack the MILF troops along the riverside of Barangay Kadigasan and Damatulan, both of Midsayap, Cotabato.

Another new infantry unit arrived in Maguindanao to augment the already highly beefed-up AFP troops conducting cleansing operations against MILF and aggrieved civilian communities


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