A Day With The Mujahideen Of The BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) - 1k

13 May 2012

A Day With The Mujahideen Of The BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) - 2

By Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun

After the martyrdom of Sheikh Salamat Hasyim rahimahullah in 2003 at Camp Mineral, Lanao del Sur, as a result of an aerial bombardment from the Filipino aircraft, the leadership of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) was carried on by Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim. However, in the course of the leadership in the last decade, setback after setback instead happened, which led to the splitting of the MILF resistance organization to turn into smaller factions.

At least, at the present time, there are five factions that exist and conduct activities in various regions in Mindanao, South Philippines. Three of the major factions are, the MILF Faction which is led by Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim in several separate areas in Mindanao, The Aleem Aziz Mimbantas Faction in Lanau del Norte and the Commander Kato Faction in Central Mindanao.

Commander Kato in Central Mindanao has a closeness of history with Sheikh Salamat Hasyim rahimahullah. Around him are early leaders who were the pioneers in the founding of the MILF in the time of the leadership of Sheikh Salamat Hasyim. Due to that, Commander Kato has the assertiveness of methods in the struggle which currently makes him the torch of spirit for the Moro people to keep doing armed resistance against the Philippines.

Commander Kato has adequate Islamic understanding background, that he is able to select the means or methods of struggle method that hold fast to the Islamic Shari'ah, unlike the MILF with its Al-Haj Murad which he has left, which always depends on the rhythm of the government of Philippines, so what happened was the gradual destruction of the Moro liberation organization, the MILF, without the central committee of the MILF (core leaders of the MILF) realizing it.

The failure of the peace talks between the MILF under the leadership of Al-Haj Murad Ebrahem, and the Goverment of Philippine in 2008, had sparked a new war on the island of Mindanao, mostly inhabited by the Maguindanao, Maranao and Iranon Muslim tribes.

The key Ulama's of the MILF who are loyal followers of the MILF leader who had been shaheed, Sheikh Salamat Hashim rahimahullah, got a compelling reason to do manoeuvres and attacks the army camps, particularly in the towns around the province of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

Ustadz Amiril Umbra Kato, the Commander of Division 105 in Maguindanao had attacked the army camps in the area of Maguindanao, Midsayap, Sultan Kudarat, Kidapawan and North Cotabato. So a great war raged. Victims were falling. The Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) suffered major losses from the vicious attacks that had never been expected.

Amiril Umbra Kato, Leader of BIFF, Hero Figure of Jihad

In the aftermath of the attacks , Ustadz Amiril Umbra Kato became a new figure, the 'Hero of Jihad' and a 'phantom' dreaded by the enemy, i.e the government of Philippines. And then Ustadz Amiril Umbra Kato broke away from the MILF and formed the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter). Therefore, the BIFF started its own struggle in Mindanao in 2008.

In tandem with these widespread attacks, Commander Abdurrahman Bravo, the Commander of Division 113 in the wilayah (region) of Lanao del Norte, also launched attacks against Kauswagan. And then the war raged in the wilayah of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

The heat of this war had forced the American forces in South Philippines to move the concentration of a joint exercise between the Armies of Philippines and America. The name of the joint exercise was Balikatan Exercise, which aimed at pursuing the strength of the Mujahideen of the Abu Sayyaf group that conducted guerrilla warfare in the area of Jolo and Basilan.

With the various attacks and rapid progress in war achieved by the BIFF and that which caused huge losses on the part of the government of Philippines, so later the operation of the Philippines-America joint exercise also included the BIFF into the new targets of their operation... To be continued.

[Abu Yusuf/voa-islam.com]



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