Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law continue, a month into government’s “all-out offensive” in Maguindanao against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, says a Moro group.
By DEE AYROSO
The Suara Bangsamoro reported that at least nine houses and two “masjids” or prayer huts in Maguindanao were burned by soldiers belonging to the Phil. Army’s 8th Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT).
The group condemned the acts, and called for the pullout of the military from the Moro communities.
“The burning of civilian homes are just one of the growing list of violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws brought by the all-out war launched by the Aquino government against the Moro people,” said Jerome Succor Aba, Suara Bangsamoro spokesperson.
The group interviewed residents of Sitio (subvillage) Tampat, Pamalian village, in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao. The residents said that at about 7 pm on March 18, they were at the evacuation center in Dapiawan village, Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, when they saw a fire blazing from the direction of their homes, where they knew soldiers of the 8th MBLT had camped.
At 5 am on March 19, they went to check on their homes after seeing soldiers leave the area, and they were shocked to find their houses razed to the ground.
“The military have turned the communities into war zones, encamping in village halls, stationing themselves at evacuation centers, and wantonly bombing civilian homes and farms,” Aba said.
Suara Bangsamoro said that there are already 123,000 evacuees who have been forced to leave their homes because of the “all-out offensive” of the military.