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Philippine gov't, MILF peace panels to deal with Kato's group: official

(Xinhua)

09:24, August 29, 2011

MANILA, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government is leaving up to the peace panels of both the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on how to deal with the rebel group's former commander who allegedly threatened to sabotage the peace process by launching attacks after Ramadan.

"I think that is something that has to be addressed by the MILF for the moment. I will leave this matter to our panel and to Secretary (Teresita) Deles (of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) on how we will respond in the light of the said statement in case the threat is true," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has put up roadblocks along major roads in southern Philippines to prevent escalation of violence, which could be perpetrated by rogue MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato and his Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) once Ramadan ends on Tuesday.

Kato and his group broke away with the MILF lead by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim after the latter gave up its call for an independent Islamic state.

The MILF, which has an ongoing peace negotiation with the government, is now asking for a sub-state.

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