01/27/2015, 00.00
Send to a friend

Filipino bishops condemn Maguindanao carnage: We need a real peace plan

At least 43 special forces killed during shootout between security forces and rebel militias. The Bishops Conference speaks of "act of violence against human life", in a land "tired of battles and conflicts." The bishops call for a "inclusive” solution, based on "correct principles" for all. Even for MILF leaders peace is "the only possible solution."

Manila (AsiaNews / CBCP) - The Filipino bishops' conference has condemned the "act of violence against human life" that caused the deaths of at least 43 policemen, killed by the militia of the rebel MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and Biff (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters).

The shootout took place on 25 January in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in Maguindanao province, located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, southern Philippines. The police had raided a village in search of two suspected Islamic extremists. However, they failed to notify MILF militias, who control the area as provided for in the peace agreement. Hence the response of the militiamen, that led to the ambush and dozens of deaths.

In an official statement the Filipino bishops confirm their firm and decisive support for peace and the ongoing talks between the government and rebel militias. The CBCP president Socrates B. Villegas warns that the Church "cannot side with those who call for the discontinuance of peace talks".

The prelate, Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, adds that "if anything, the sad incident underscores the necessity and the urgency of arriving at a solution that is not rushed but that is inclusive, principled and just to all." "With profound sorrow but with faith in the Resurrection, the CBCP mourns with the families of the gallant policemen, victims of an utterly senseless act of violence in Mindanao, already weary from battle and conflict".

The victims belong to the Special Forces (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and were looking for two prominent Islamic terrorists: Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, belonging to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and explosives expert Basit Usman. Yesterday all day the Philippine flag flew at half mast in the police headquarters in Manila.

Commenting on the incident the Filipino interior minister Manuel Roxas warned that the story "may affect" peace talks, but "we are hopeful and confident" than the work of the past years is not lost.

Mohagher Iqbal, head of the committee for peace of the rebel groups, said that the police "came into our area and attacked us," so it was an episode of "self-defense". However, he added that the single incident of violence will not bring down the efforts for peace, because both sides are committed to achieving the common goal. Ghazali Jaafar, deputy head of the rebels, added that the peace treaty signed last March "is the only possible solution to the conflict."


Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Elections 2010: Filipino government introduces gun ban across the country
Mindanao, peace plan: MILF hands over (some) weapons and frees guerrillas
Maguindanao: 30 policemen killed in clashes with MILF rebels, peace agreement flounders
Chaos descends upon Mindanao as 220,000 are displaced and fear of civil war grows
More education for the young and less politicking are the path to peace in Mindanao


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”