The Armed Forces of the Philippines is treating all breakaway groups of Moro Islamic Liberation Front as terrorist groups, AFP Chief-of-Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang said in a press conference at Villamor Airbase following the arrest of former Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters leader and United Islamic Movement for Justice (JIM) founding leader Mohamad Ali Tambako.
“It’s great accomplishment because we were able to ‘nip in the bud’ this alleged new group, a breakaway group from the BIFF. Lahat ng mga breakaway group from the MILF, we consider them as terrorists. This only shows that the government is firm in putting a stop in terrorism,” General Catapang said.
The top military official added that Tambako has an established international network. “He has established network of contacts of Islamic terrorists around the world. He is reported to be coddling five foreign nationals who are trained in bomb-making.”
General Catapang said that Tambako can shed light on the current condition or whereabouts of Basit Usman. This is if Tambako will cooperation in the ‘question and answer portion’.
Moro rebels from the group of Tambako, Kagi Karialan’s BIFF group and MILF’s 105th Base Command under Zacaria Goma were among the armed fighters who fought with PNP-Special Action Force leading to the death of 44 troopers.