Earlier today the Armed Forces of the Philippines received information saying that Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters founding chairman Ustadz Amiril Umbra Kato is dead.
“With the reported death of Kato, we are seeing the gradual demise of the BIFF considering that Kato is both a tactical commander and at the same time the spiritual leader of the group,” AFP said in a released statement. “Kato played a crucial role in recruiting new members of the organization using his mastery of the Quran and his wisdom as an experienced leader of the rebel group.”
The military now urges BIFF remnants to consider the option of returning to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front organization and support the ongoing peace process.
Mayor Samsodin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao confirms Kato’s death. “His relatives confirmed to me that he succumbed to cardiac arrest,” the mayor said. He added that the 79-year-old bandit leader suffered a mild stroke two years ago.