MILF denies 250 fighters killed in Mamasapano

By Lore Mae L. Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Feb 10 2015 07:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2015 03:43 AM

CAMP DARAPANAN, Maguindanao - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) denied reports that came out during Monday's Senate hearing that around 250 MILF combatants were killed in the Mamasapano clash.

Von Al-Haq, spokesperson of the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), told ABS-CBN News it is not true that they lost more than 200 combatants.

He said if this was true, it would have been impossible for them to extricate all those killed.

"Hindi natin kayang i-retrieve yan," Al-Haq said.

Al-Haq said only 18 combatants were killed from their side, as per official record of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

Sacked Special Action Forces (SAF) Chief Getulio Napenas claimed on Monday that his men must have killed over 200 MILF fighters.

The SAF lost 44 elite commandos, the largest casualty of government security forces in recent memory.

Meanwhile, Al-Haq said they have not yet finished the investigation into the January 25 encounter.

The MILF created a Special Investigative Commission last January 26 after the bloody encounter with the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.

Al-Haq says this is composed of the central committee and the general staff of the BIAF.

The investigation, according to Al-Haq, is already about 50 percent completed. "[Pero] hindi pa pwedeng i-reveal ito kasi may mga maselang bagay sa investigation."

He said it will be the central committee's decision if it will have some information published to the media, or whether it will grant the request of the Senate for the initial report of the MILF's investigation.

The MILF's military wing also stressed that if their troops violated rules in the ceasefire agreement, they will be given appropriate sanctions.

Al-Haq, meanwhile, advised the MILF armed forces to stay calm, hold their position and just be in a defensive stance.

Al-Haq also renewed the MILF's vow to support and uphold the peace process.