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PIA Press Release

Military launches clearing operations in affected areas

Zamboanga City (14 August) -- Days after firefights erupted between government forces and the "lost command" members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), military troops have launched clearing operations in the affected areas.

4th Civil Relations Groups Major Gamal S Hayudini said the clearing operations are carried out as a due course for law enforcement without necessarily being constraint by the ceasefire agreement.

He stressed that the clearing operations is not directed to the MILF as an organization but against a group that defies the rule of law and continues to neglect the decision of the GRP and MILF leadership to vacate unlawfully occupied areas.

With the defiance of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 105th Base Command to pull out from illegally occupied areas in North Cotabato and the MILF group that initiated violence in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan Province, these groups have degenerated into a plain bandit group and considered as lost command, according to Hayudini.

"The ceasefire agreement cannot be binding on any group outside the MILF organization especially when such group is committing unlawful acts," Hayudini emphasized.

In certain areas of North Cotabato and with a specific group of MILF, all peaceful avenues have been exhausted to resolve the conflict since the 24-hour deadline last Friday has expired and the military is now compelled to resort to the application of proportionate and justifiable force so that peace and order may be resolved in North Cotabato, Hayudini added.

Meanwhile, Western Mindanao Command under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga has intensified security operations to quell violence and maintain the peace and order in Western Mindanao. (4CRG, CRSAFP/PIA-BASULTA) [top]

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