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Mamasapano Operation by PNP-SAF

What should have been a celebration due to the neutralization of international terrorist 'Marwan', have turned into a mourning for the death of more than 40 SAF troopers who were ambushed by BIFF and MILF forces when they were already heading back.

Oplan Exodus was aimed at apprehending Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who had warrants of arrest in the US and the Philippines, and was blamed for the deaths of 46 Filipinos - besides the 200 fatalities in the 2002 Bali bombings - in a string of terror attacks over a decade. The US government had put out a $5-million reward for information leading to his capture.


49 police, 5 rebels killed in Maguindanao firefight

(philstar.com) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 7:00pm

Forty-nine police personnel and five Muslim rebels were believed to be killed in a gunbattle yesterday in Maguindanao, said local authorities today.

A series of clashes occurred in the early hours of Sunday in Mamasapano town between the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippines National Police (PNP) and the alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Five MILF members were killed in the gunbattle, according to a statement on MILF's website. The group said the killing of the police personnel was "unfortunate."

In addition, three civilians were injured in the incident and 563 families were affected, according to a situation report from the Office of Civil Defense Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Harold Cabunoc, public affairs office chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said there are no reported skirmishes between the two sides as military efforts are still ongoing to extricate bodies of the slain police personnel.

Authorities said the SAF members were searching for Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir also known as "Marwan," a known explosives expert, and his Maguindanaon cohort Basit Usman.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said initial information indicated that Marwan was killed in the earlier police operation. Reports said the policemen were on the way home when they were engaged by the MILF rebels.

"According to reports, they were able to neutralize one of them, Marwan, although the other, Basit Usman, was able to escape. The government will do all its might in order to prevent the terrorists from moving around our area," said Gazmin.

Mohagher Iqba, MILF chief negotiator, was quoted in a statement as saying, "There was no coordination (with the MILF) and they engaged our troops nearby aside from the BIFF."

Iqbal said the PNP's non-coordination caused the fighting.

The Philippine government and the MILF signed a comprehensive peace agreement in March, 2014, to end the decades-long armed conflict in southern Philippines.

Part of the agreement is to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will be the organic law for the envisioned Bangsamoro government that will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by 2016.

The BIFF is the armed wing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement which broke away from the MILF in 2010 because of disagreements over the peace talks with the government.

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, government peace panel chairwoman, said the Aquino government was deeply saddened by the loss of lives during the tragic encounter in Mamasapano that involved members of the PNP and various armed groups, and sent its condolences to the families of those who perished.

Coronel-Ferrer said the government hopes to normalize the situation on the ground as soon as possible in order to prevent the displacement of civilians, give a full swing to the humanitarian effort, and prevent a repeat of the incident.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/01/26/1417035/update-49-police-5-rebels-killed-maguindanao-firefight


Gazmin, meanwhile, denied reports that the PNP did not coordinate with the military before conducting the operation.
Quote:
 
“Hindi. Nag-coordinate naman at the tactical level. Pero siguro, because time is of the essence, nandiyan na 'yung target, nandiyan na 'yung operation, kulang na sa oras. (Pero) pinagsabihan pa rin 'yung Army na nadaanan nila so there was coordination,” Gazmin said.

Link http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/417039/news/nation/ji-leader-marwan-believed-dead-in-mamasapano-clash


Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said initial information indicated that Marwan was killed in the earlier police operation. Reports said the policemen were on the way home when they were engaged by the MILF rebels.
Quote:
 
"According to reports, they were able to neutralize one of them, Marwan, although the other, Basit Usman, was able to escape. The government will do all its might in order to prevent the terrorists from moving around our area," said Gazmin.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/01/26/1417035/update-49-police-5-rebels-killed-maguindanao-firefight

But some reports on Marwan's death tell otherwise.


VIDEOS

43 SAF nasawi sa bakbakan

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/247779/saksi/di-bababa-sa-43-na-saf-patay-matapos-makabakbakan-ang-biff-at-milf

Marwan is dead?

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/248668/saksi/pnp-walang-alam-sa-operasyon-ng-saf-sa-mamasapano

Retrieval operation, the encounter site and graphical representation of the encounter

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/249144/balitanghali/mga-gasa-basyo-ng-bala-uniporme-at-iba-pang-gamit-ng-saf-kita-sa-lugar-ng-engkwentro

Terrain, negotiation that save 30 SAF and graphical representation of the encounter

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/249046/balitanghali/lugar-na-bakbakan-sa-mamasapano-hindi-agad-mapapasok-kung-hindi-kabisado-ang-daraanan


RELATED NEWS;

Where were the military troops?
Quote:
 
Army troops did not get involved in the fighting in the absence of prior coordination from SAF about operations against Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

An official, who asked not be named, said no prior coordination was made on the SAF’s anti-terror operation, but that troops on the ground knew where the SAF commandos were headed.

“Yes, we did not coordinate as we don’t want any leak,” he said. “But was it correct to just let your brother-in-arms die in the hands of the enemy?”

A middle-grade Army officer said Army troops were ready to reinforce the police commandos, but that their hands were tied by the government’s ceasefire agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Force (MILF).

If Army troops had joined the fighting, it could have resulted in more casualties on the government side, he added.

The Army officer said police commandos could have mistook the Army troops as the enemy and vice versa.

Army troops could not also just enter the area as the prevailing situation on the ground was then very fluid and could have resulted in a “mis-encounter,” he added.

Fighting stopped after the MILF panel initiated moves for a ceasefire to allow police reinforcements to collect and extricate the bodies of their fallen comrades with the help of US forces.

Link http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/01/27/1417218/where-were-military-troops


PHOTOS

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GMA News: photo showing Marwan is dead but some claim that this isn't the man

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slain SAF troopers as how they were found by troops

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residents helped recover the bodies

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SAF men loading cadavers to trucks

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cadavers at Army 6ID base in Maguindanao

credit to photo owners
Edited by Flipzi, Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:57 pm.
Alfred Alexander L. Marasigan
Manila, Philippines
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