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MILF official: Rogue commander Umbra Kato is dead

COTABATO CITY — Ameril Umra Kato, leader of a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, died while under the care of his first wife in Toril, Davao City, shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday.

In a text message to reporters, Atty. Michael Mastura, legal counsel of the MILF and member of the Front’s peace negotiating panel, on Saturday said “Now it is confirmed [that] Ameril Umbra Kato passed away in Toril..." Mastura's text message did not elaborate.

Last Saturday morning MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said a stroke "paralyzed" Kato and that the rogue leader could only communicate by writing.

With his breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), Kato had questioned the MILF's capability to face the government in peace negotiations as the Front does not represent the real sentiment of the Bangsamoro people.
Kato is facing charges for leading attacks in Mindanao after the Supreme Court junked in 2008 a Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain of the Bangsamoro.

Text messages were circulating Saturday morning saying Kato died after suffering a fatal stroke, allegedly causing blood to ooze from his mouth, nose, ears and eyes.

But Von Al-haq, the military spokesperson for the MILF, denied any confirmation on Kato's death.

"Yan yung nag-circulate na information... kaliwa't kanan... na umano'y namatay si Kato. But even his close relatives we asked could not confirm if Kato's death was true," Al-haq said.

He had a stroke, we believe it's true. It happened at his hiding place in Sharif Aguak in Maguindanao," Al-haq added, saying efforts to confirm Kato's death is ongoing. — LBG, GMA News
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November 27, 2011 12:35pm

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