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BIFF on MILF unit: 'We're all family'.

COTABATO CITY -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) unit that clashed with police commandos out to get international terrorist Marwan shares an affinity with renegade guerrillas that a renegade guerrilla spokesperson said was akin to the two guerrilla groups being part of a family.

"We are all family," said Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), describing the BIFF's relationship with the MILF's 105th Base Command, headed by Ustadz Zacaria Guma.

BIFF is a guerrilla group that spun off the MILF over differences in peace talks with the government.

Guma's group is being tagged as the MILF unit responsible for many of the casualties suffered by a 300member team of the police's Special Action Force (SAF) that was on its way to capture or kill Marwan in a village in the town of Mamapasano in Maguindanao province, a known MILF bailiwick.

The 105th Base Command, according to reports gathered by the Inquirer, is no stranger to clashes that are defiant of top MILF leaders.

According to Mama, there is no clear distinction between BIFF guerrillas and members of Guma's unit.

Mama said BIFF guerrillas and members of Guma's unit are either friends or relatives.

According to sources in the know, Guma's unit would even engage fellow MILF units over clan feuds and other disputes.

Guma, the sources said, is known to treat with disdain some MILF units that Guma considers as "munafik," or hypocrites.

In one of the recent clashes it had been involved in, a small group in Guma's unit rescued a man being arrested for murder and arson in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.

The man was being arrested with the help of another MILF unit, the 188th Base Command headed by Ustadz Wahid Tondok, when Guma's group interceded, allowing the subject of the arrest warrant to escape.

In 2012, Guma's unit also came to the rescue of a group of MILF men caught in a standoff in Lamud, South Upi town in Maguindanao with a group of Moro National Liberation Front members, led by Hadji Mama Binangon.

Guma's men were also recently involved in clashes stemming from clan feuds in the boundaries of the towns of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat and Upi in Maguindanao.

Last month, Guma's group, with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), stormed the town of Rajah Buayan, where the Army's 45th Infantry Battalion was securing a highway concreting project. BIFM is the group that has control of BIFF.

The combined force of Guma's unit and the BIFM group, under Kagi Karialan, clashed with soldiers in Rajah Buayan town, sending hundreds of civilians fleeing.

Aside from targeting the military and other government forces, Guma's group had also clashed with comrades in the MILF.

An MILF commander, who asked that he not be identified, said he nearly lost his family in a raid by members of Guma's unit, who wanted to seize his guns.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF political affairs chief, was quick to dismiss allegations that the 105th Base Command operates alongside BIFF.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 30, 2015
Words:503
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