20 September 2010
Datu Salibo, Maguindanao

Pagatin, Datu Salibo, MAGUINDANAO- Group of armed men believed to be members of 105th base command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) allegedly harassed the detachment of 29th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Gadong here on Sunday, September 19 at around 7:00 in the evening.

The fire fight lasted almost 15 minutes based on the testimonies of the people near the sitio who witnessed the incident. No casualties were reported on both sides but the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the sitio who have gone home on May 19, 2010 fled anew to nearby barangays.

Prior to the incident, people near the detachment were vacating their homes during night time and returning during daytime because of rumours of possible attacks of the MILF rebels as retaliation on the arrest of Hadi Abdul on September 13, 2010. Abdul was arrested by members of 29th IB during their operation in Sitio Gadong and Barangay Madia against the private armies involved in the gruesome November 23 Massacre.

In Luwaran, the official MILF website, the arrest of Hadi Abdul was condemned by the group. A member of the MILF Central Committee had cautioned the military for undertaking illegal arrests, saying that this could affect the ceasefire and the effort to resume the peace talks between the GRP and the MILF.

Based on the statement of Khaled Musa, deputy chairman of the Front’s Committee on Information of the MILF Central Committee, Hadi is a member of MILF under 105th base command and member of the of the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Post (JCMP), a ceasefire mechanisms on the ground under the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (JCCCH) in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Piang and the so-called Salvo-Pagatin-Mamamsapano-Shariff Aguak (SPMS) areas for years sometime in 2006 to 2008.

On 19 May 2010, the DSWD-ARMM and the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG-ARMM) facilitated the returned of the 360 IDP families in Sitio Gadong, Barangay Pagatin after this area was declared “safe” by the AFP. Prior to this return there were already disapprovals from the group of the IDPs complaining on the presence of the 29th IB detachment in the Sitio. These IDPs were worried on their security and safety in the Sitio as the presence of the detachment and soldiers in the area is susceptible to attack.#

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