Moro Islamic Liberation Front: US troop ‘movements & sightings’ reported on Rebel website
The Moro Islamic Liberation Frontwebsite Lurwaran.com in a very short article more like a forum posting reported groups of two US troopers -in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabungsuan moving around the area of Mount Kabalalan.
American servicemen urged to stay in camp
”… A group of villagers in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabungsuan told Luwaran reporter recently that several American servicemen in group of twos were sighted in far-flung villages of upper Semba and Dimapatoy, this town. “They are scouring the mountain near Mount Kabalalan,” said one villager who asked not to be named, “and for what reason I do not know.”…”MILF webiste
The report does not say much – nor does it allege any wrong doing on the part of US forces but coming at a time of tension and fighting further south in Jolo in the Sulu Province area the report does in its headline “US servicemen urged to stay in camp’ says it all perhaps.
The MILF has about 16,000 OR so armed fighters both full time in uniform and rebel units and scores of sympathizers some of whom are hardliners. Like all large organizations it is not a monolithic one – small factions exist and some are alleged to be sympathetic to extremist groups. While the mainstream are moderate and follow the central organizational structure.
The posting is seen by some as – ‘a message’ – or so say those familiar with the way the MILF operates that says ‘they know’ – for the most part however the MILF is taking part in US, EU, and Australian funded and backed peace talks with Malaysian’s playing the role negotiators acting and the Philippine government.
It may have been the US troops – who are allowed to be armed for self defense – under a agreement with the Philippine government – may have just been in the area to asses it for future training missions or ‘medcap’ or medical civic action projects – or could have been just sight seeing – or perhaps were with Philippine troops moving about the area but the message seen is the men were sighted in a ‘sensitive area’ and the posting seems more of interesting view to the opinion of the organization than anything else.
The post has a worrisome portion on its generalization of the role of US peace corps workers – many do not understand that Peace Corps members are ‘vollenteers’ and are non-government in nature – but – ‘government funded’ aid workers.
Often times this kind of opinion can lead to problems for these aid workers and perhaps steps should be taken to clear up the misconception voiced on the website. The last paragraph in particular
I have in my work as a journalist met and traveled and interviewed in areas controlled y the MNLF and MILF and never really had any problems with the organized Moro Rebel groups however commanders often-warn of fringe groups who might seek to damage peace talks or create problems or just make a statement in areas where there is a gap between government and rebel control.
Hence the ‘warning’ this posting gives is les ominous than just a nudge saying ‘Hey be careful out there…”
– like Hills street blues?
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