Army warns MILF of offensive should it continue disrupting elections in Maguindanao

May 10, 2010 8:08 pm 

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, May 10 – The Army in Maguindanao has warned the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) not to again harass poll officials in Datu Salibo town.

"Otherwise, we will attack them to give them lesson," Col. Herbert Yambing, chief of the Joint Security Coordinating Council in Maguindanao, said.

Yambing said the MILF in Datu Salibo fired mortars toward Pagatin Elementary School in Salibo town, sending voters and poll officials into panic.

Three mortars landed near the voting center at about 12 noon Monday while the voters were waiting their turns to vote.

"We know the MILF did it," Yambing said, adding that it was a violation of the mutual understanding that the MILF would not harass poll officials and their respective Army and police escorts.

"What they did has affected the balloting in two precincts, so the Comelec decided to suspend it," Yambing said.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said the incident was not sanctioned by the MILF leadership.

He called for an impartial investigation on the incident in Datu Salibo. He said the MILF remained committed to ensure that the election, although the MILF do not recognize, would be peaceful and orderly.

"Tonight would be crucial, if the MILF would fire mortars again, we will strike them," Yambing said.

Some 40 families near Pagatin Elementary School have started fleeing as heavy downpour prevented some voters to cast their votes in nearby polling centers.

Heavy rains started at about noon and continues until about 5 p.m. (PNA)

DCT/PTR/NYP/EOF

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