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Muslim Rebels Caution Philippine Military Against Indiscriminate Arrests

September 17, 2010

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) — The Philippine military must be more cautious in making indiscriminate arrest as this may hurt the prospects of the peace process, a senior official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said Thursday.

This (indiscriminate arrests) is a “triggering device” that doesn’t augur well for the ceasefire and the effort to resume the peace talks between the government and the MILF, according to Khaled Musa, deputy chairman of the MILF’s Committee on Information.

Musa was reacting to last Monday’s arrest of Hadi Abdul by members of the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion. Hadi, a member of the 105th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, was arrested for his alleged involvement in last year’s Maguindanao massacre.

But in a statement posted in Luwaran.net, MILF’s website, Musa said the arrest are based on warrant of arrests issued by Philippine courts “which are not necessarily on the basis of actual participation or collaboration of the suspects or accused.”

Musa branded the inclusion of the name “John Does” as “a state apparatus of repression.”

The MILF is the largest group battling for self-rule in Mindanao. Negotiations between the government and the MILF broke down in August 2008 following the aborted signing of the controversial expanded Muslim homeland agreement which was ruled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

But efforts are being made by both sides to revive the talks. Malaysian-brokered peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group will formally resume in November.

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