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MILF fighter killed in Taytay raid

by Pesante-USA Friday, Feb. 02, 2007 at 4:51 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

A suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel was killed in a shootout with Marines and police on an island in Laguna de Bay near Metro Manila yesterday. Following the pre-dawn raid, government forces also captured three other suspected MILF fighters in a hideout in Barangay Sta. Ana in Taytay, Rizal near the cities of Pasig and Taguig in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, MILF spokesman, Eid Kabalu, said Mohammad and Sanjali Utto are bandits, not members of the secessionist group. "They are not MILF," he said. "Police are linking them to our organization. We have no members active in Rizal." Kabalu said the police action of linking the captured suspects with the MILF could further delay the resumption of peace talks with the government. "It appears there are certain sectors out to sabotage the talks," he said.

MILF fighter killed in Taytay raid

Manila--The military reported today that a suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel was killed in a shootout with Marines and police on an island in Laguna de Bay near Metro Manila yesterday.

Following the pre-dawn raid, government forces also captured three other suspected MILF fighters in a hideout in Barangay Sta. Ana in Taytay, Rizal near the cities of Pasig and Taguig in Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, MILF spokesman, Eid Kabalu, said Mohammad and Sanjali Utto are bandits, not members of the secessionist group.

"They are not MILF," he said. "Police are linking them to our organization. We have no members active in Rizal."

Kabalu said the police action of linking the captured suspects with the MILF could further delay the resumption of peace talks with the government.

"It appears there are certain sectors out to sabotage the talks," he said.

"We deny having a special operations group in (Metro) Manila. The police should have brought the information first to a joint ceasefire committee."

Kabalu said the MILF has agreed to help police hunt down terrorists.

"We want to clear this up, because it might potentially affect the talks," he said.

The military version

A Marine, Private First Class Christopher Clobong, was wounded in the shootout.

Five other persons wanted by the police reportedly escaped during the raid.

Senior Superintendent Asher Dolina, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) National Capital Region director, said Mohammad Pindigaw, alias Mohammad Utto Ampatuan, was shot dead after rebels opened fire on Marines and police, who stormed the island on rubber boats.

Ampatuan, an aide of Sanjali Utto — the main target of the raid –tried to lob a grenade at advancing troops, he added.

Lt. Col. Ariel Caculitan, Philippine Marines spokesman, said Utto, a former MILF member, was implicated in several bombing attacks blamed on the Abu Sayyaf and the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network.

Military intelligence have been monitoring Utto and his band for about a week, he added.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Calderon said the three arrested suspects, Sanjali Utto, Jukamen Utto and Alimuddin Abdullah will be charged with illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives because the country has no anti-terrorism law to pin them down.

"In the absence of an anti-terrorism law, the suspects can easily get away with charges in which they can post bail and go back to their illegal activities," he said.

The raid was made based on two search warrants issued by two different judges in Manila and Antipolo, Rizal, Calderon said.



Police said the raiders seized materials used in making powerful bombs, including C4 explosives and fuses in the suspected MILF hideout in the island, which is part of Barangay Sta. Ana in Taytay.

Marines and police also found Thompson submachine gun and tools used in making improvised explosive device, cords, fuses and ammunition, he added.

Police said Sanjali Utto has a standing warrant of arrest for murder and frustrated murder, arising from an encounter with the Rizal Provincial police.

He was a barangay elder and was known in Barangay Sta. Ana for coddling Muslims from Mindanao, who have settled in Metro Manila, police added.

Dolina said Sanjali Utto also led a series of robberies and other criminal activities.

"He served as purok leader, but made it a point to collect grease money from all the illegal activities." he said.

Dolina said police are trying to determine when and where Pindigaw’s group would use the bomb.

"These may be ordinary components but need a trained eye to say (they) can be used as explosives," he said.

"Our EOD (explosives ordnance division) experts claimed these (seized items) can make powerful bombs."

The CIDG is verifying intelligence reports that the group was stocking up arms and explosives for possible terrorist attacks, authorities said.

With reports of Cecille Suerte Felipe And Sandy Araneta

The Philippine Star 02/02/2007

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