MILF’s Iqbal confirms death of BIFF founder Umbra Kato

8:46:00 PM
MANILA, --  Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato, founder of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, is dead.

This was confirmed Tuesday by Mohagher Iqbal, chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

"Confirmed," Iqbal told GMA News Online when asked about the supposed death of Kato, leader of the BIFF, a splinter group of the MILF.

Iqbal, however, did not elaborate further on the matter.

The confirmation came following reports that Kato passed away before dawn Tuesday due to stroke.

In a phone interview with GMA News Online, Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Kakilala said they have received information on the supposed death of Kato, but they would still need to verify this.

He said based on initial information, Kato passed away in Maguindanao.

Army 6th Division chief Major General Edmundo Pangilinan said they are also verifying the information.

Meanwhile, Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsoddin “Pink” Dimaukom also confirmend receiving information about Kato's death.

In a phone interview, Dimaukom said the information relayed to him was Kato died from cardiac arrest somewhere in Guindulungan, Maguindanao around 2 a.m.

“Yes, namatay daw siya gaya nung unang nyang sakit ... na-stroke,” Dimaukom said.

Kato organized the so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and its armed group, the BIFF.

In 2008, he led attacks in Mindanao after the Supreme Court junked a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between the MILF and the Arroyo administration.

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels led by Ameril Umbra Kato, a commander who broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leads his armed men in shouting “Allahu Akbar” in Maguindanao.

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