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PIA Press Release

Attacks vs gov't troops in Lanao Sur, a diversionary tactic MGen Pajarito

ICC Iligan City (20 November) -- The recent encounter in Wao, Lanao del Sur between government troops and the lawless MILF group is to divert the attention away from their LMG leaders Bravo in Lanao del Norte and Umbra Kato in Cotabato.

Or, it could have been a ploy to establish the LMG presence in the area due to its bountiful rice harvest considering reports that they have run out of food supply in their hideouts.

This is the assessment of Maj. Gen. Nehemias Pajarito, Commander of the First Infantry Division (1ID), Philippine Army, who said these LMG's are expected to continue with their guerilla warfare primarily avoiding confrontation with government troops while enhancing their logistical build-up.

However, although their capability in the Lanao provinces have been reduced due to the continuous law enforcement operations, their basic capability to conduct attacks at soft target is still intact, Pajarito said.

He said the LMG is now maintaining a low-profile stance and avoiding head on skirmishes with government troops but will conduct counter-attack when provoked, as they intend to make their presence felt and project that they are still a force to reckon with.

The threat posed by the LMG with support from other sympathetic Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) groups cannot be underestimated, as they are still capable to resort to bombing operations in key cities and other populated areas for maximum damages and effect.

They are also expected to monitor the course of the peace talks and will serve as bargaining force for the mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front in asserting their demands.

But Pajarito, whose troops have been assigned in both the Lanao provinces, assured the overall situation in these areas is manageable.

Meanwhile, he said unless a genuine comprehensive agreement is made with the MILF and the rogue lawless MILF group (LMG) leaders are punished or neutralized, a lasting peace in the Lanao areas remain elusive and farfetched. (RCA/PIA 10) [top]

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