A policeman and a guerrilla were killed in a gunbattle that broke out when a joint police-military team tried to serve an arrest warrant against a rebel commander in a camp of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLFf) in Sanrangani province, a rebel spokesman said.
MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said fighting erupted when the police Investigation Mobile Unit entered MNLF camp in Barangay Daliao, Maasin last Tuesday to serve a warrant on Tikboy Maguid, a rebel commander.
“I condemn the raid by the police in one of our camps in Maasin,” Cerveza said.
When the police team arrived at the camp they were confronted by three rebels on duty and shots were fired. The rebels withdrew during the fighting and vacated the camp.
When the fighting subsided, the police operatives entered and searched the camp but failed to find Maguid.
Cerveza said the police raided the camp without definite information that Maguid was inside and without proper coordination with MNLF leaders in the area and their action jeopardized “what little peace remained in Mindanao.”
He said the attack was an attempt to demolish the MNLF through military action and he accused Undersecretary Jose Lorena of Office of the Presidential Adviser
on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for defending the raiding team.
“I deplore the statement of Usec Lorena, who said the action was valaid because they were looking for firearms,” Cerveza said.