PNP probers enter MILF camp, commander declines interview

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (UPDATED) – Police investigators finally met with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders as the Board of Inquiry (BOI) wraps up its investigation into the January 25 clash in Mamasapano. 

BOI members, led by its chairman Police Director Benjamin Magalong, and MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar entered the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao, Wednesday noon, February 25. 

After at least two tries, the BOI finally met with MILF 118th base commander Wahid Tundok at the Moro rebels’ headquarters.

Tundok, however only exchanged pleasantries and had lunch with the PNP BOI officials  before leaving abruptly. The commander declined to be interviewed for the PNP’s investigation. 

In an interview with reporters inside the camp, PNP BOI head Police Director Benjamin Magalong said he understood the MILF’s hesitation to be interviewed. The MILF is set to submit its own report on the bloody Mamasapano incident to the Malaysian government, the third party facilitator in peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF. 

Magalong and members of the media entered the camp around 12 noon. Tundok arrived before 2:30 pm, after Magalong and BOI members spoke with Jafaar. 

Tundok was not in the battle site on January 25 but the MILF high command allowed him to meet with the BOI nonetheless, Jaafar said.

On Tuesday, the BOI failed to meet MILF leaders in Mamasapano town, the site of the clash that killed at least 65 people including 44 elite cops, 18 Moro rebels and 3 civilians. The MILF said the BOI failed to properly coordinate with them before their arrival in Mamasapano.

The Mamasapano incident threatens to ruin the peace process between the Aquino government and the MILF and has put in limbo the proposed Bangsamoro law that aims to create an autonomous and powerful region in Mindanao. – Rappler.com