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AFP verifying emergence of armed group

By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said that it is still verifying reports about the emergence of the Meranaw Victims Movement (MVM), a new armed group in Mindanao.

Bhong David via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN

Bhong David via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN

In a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief , said that the military establishment is currently doing its own verification on the MVM.

“We want to know if there are people they really represent because it is also possible and we hope it is not the case that behind this group of people are not keen about the immediate restoration of peace and order in Marawi,” Arevalo said.

“We hope that this group if any, there intention is not to disrupt our desire to start and fasttrack the reconstruction and rehabilitation (of Marawi City). And of course this will be base on the success, impending succcess of the combat operations against the gorup of the Maute Isis,” he added.

Arevalo said that part of their validation is if the group has links to the Maute Group, Abu Sayyaf or other terror group.

“Yes. Like what I said earlier, we will try to find out whether this group indeed exists and who is/are behind this group, their composition,” he said.

The group calling itself the MVM posted a 14-minute video online on Monday night to demand the Daesh-inspired Maute group to leave Marawi City and free all their hostages, regardless of religion.

The MVM is reported to be composed of armed Maranaos displaced by the war in Marawi City which started on May 23, 2017.
Their emergence is said to be deeply rooted in their relationship with civilians who perished in the fight and whose remains have yet to be retrieved.

“The group is dedicated to help in fighting for the rights of the Bangsa Meranaw whose dignity was trampled upon because of this crisis,” the group said in their Facebook post.

The group, whose leaders and members have not yet been identified, said they do not conform with the use of Marawi City as sanctuary for the Maute Group, which they said “ignited the war in Marawi City that has brought about sufferings to the Meranaw people.”

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