Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is Scared to Ilaga (Christian Militia Group)

Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is Scared to Ilaga (Christian Militia Group)

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is a Muslim militant organization based in Mindanao, the Philippines. The BIFF broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), led by Ameril Umbra Kato, in 2008. Their goal is independence for the Bangsamoro area, and they have declared that they will not settle for anything less. They rejected the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a preliminary peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF and vowed to continue their fight.[1][2][3]

 

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The Ilaga (Visayan: rat) is a Christian militia in the Philippines that operated during the 1970s in Southern Mindanao that fought against Moro Islamist[citation needed] militia.[1] Increased tensions in the Philippines since 2008 have since seen the reemergence of the armed vigilante group calling themselves the Bag-ong Ilaga (Visayan: New Ilaga).[2] Since 2008 violence flared up with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Armed Forces of the Philippines after the Supreme Court of the Philippines overruled the proposed treaty for an Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. [1] [3] The group committed its bloodiest act in June 1971 when it massacred 65 civilians in a mosque. [4]

Violence attributed to the Ilaga reached its bloodiest in June 1971 with the massacre of 65 old men, women and children inside a mosque at Barangay Manili in Carmen, North Cotabato.[citation needed] The group was composed of Settler villagers used by the Philippine Constabulary to attack Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) communities. Some members reportedly cut off the ears of dead Moro and wore them around their necks as trophies.[citation needed] One senior member, Norberto Manero, aka Kumander Bukay, also gained notoriety in the 1980s after he was convicted of murdering and eating the brain of Italian priest Tullio Favali whom he had suspected of having links with Communist insurgents.[citation needed] Santiago (spokesperson of the Reform Ilaga Movement), who is in his mid-60s, claimed that his group had at least 10,000 armed members and 10,000 more supporters.[citation needed] At the press conference, the Philippine Daily Inquirer saw some 300 armed men present.[citation needed] Some fighters had strange amulets, which, Santiago said, “came from their elders during the time of Kumander Toothpick.” The religious based amulets are believed to lose their powers when a person using it had done something bad.[citation needed] “Our instruction to them is not to go to battle if they have done something wrong against other people. To follow God’s commandments to avoid accidents that may lead to their deaths,” Santiago said.[citation needed

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