Indian UNDOF commander says Filipino troops unprofessional

“The non-professional actions of the Filipino troops have endangered the lives of the Fijian soldiers. They have defied orders at a time when we had negotiated a ceasefire with the rebels to ensure that all troops in the conflict area could exit,” UN Disengagement Observer Force Commander Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha told India Times.

“The higher UN echelon as well as the Indian Army agrees with me that the decision was correct. It is an act of cowardice to desert posts especially when a delicate ceasefire was in place,” UNDOF commander said. “They broke the chain of command and UN orders.”

“We had already moved 212 Filipinos to safety. There was only one post left with 40 soldiers and we were negotiating for them too and had secured a ceasefire for the night. Military action would have resulted in casualties on both sides and that would have also affected the fate of 45 Fijians abducted earlier,” he explained.

On Philippine side, Philippine Military chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang said, “Under the Terms of Reference, it wasn’t mentioned there that we can be ordered to surrender our firearms.”

“The UNDOF commander wanted to save the Fijians at the expense of Filipinos,” Catapang added. “I don’t think he (UNDOF commander) will [apologize]. There is actually no need to say sorry. What is needed is that he be investigated.”

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