MILF reorganizes anti-kidnapping task force

THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had reorganized its anti-kidnapping task force, the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), during a special session of its Central Committee last February 19.

Dormant for year since December 9, 2009 due to various reasons, the AHJAG was given another mandate during the 20th GPH-MILF Exploratory Talks in Kuala Lumpur last February 9-10, 2011.

The Parties agreed to make their respective AHJAG operational on March 1, 2011.

Tasked to isolate and interdict kidnap-for-ransom groups and other criminal gangs operating in or near MILF areas, the AHJAG had been very instrumental in the release of scores of kidnapped victims in Mindanao.

Atty. Abdul Dataya headed the MILF AHJAG, while Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, a convert to Islam, previously led the government AHJAG, but later replaced by Brig. Gen. Vizcarra.
However, Dataya and Vizcarra met only once in Manila in early 2010.

Members of the new MILF AHJAG came from various regions in Mindanao. For the first time that someone from Sulu is appointed to the five-man core members of the MILF outfit. Another one came from Lanaodel Surand the third member hailed from Davao.

However, the names of the new MILF AHJAG have not been released by the MILF Central Committee, pending calling them to a preliminary meeting with the MILF peace panel.

The peace panels of both the government and MILF exercise direct supervision of their respective AHJAGs.

In May 2002, when the AHJAG was conceived, some analysts were perplexed why the MILF allowed itself to play police works when no revolutionary organizations in the world have ever agreed to such arrangement.

Atty, Lanang Ali, a member of the MILF peace panel which signed the May 2, 2002 Joint Communiqué’ that authorized the birth of the AHJAG, described this decision as a sign of sophistication and confidence.

“The maturity of the MILF leadership brings forth such creativity at a time the world is engulfed with issues of terrorism and counter-terrorism,” he added.

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