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MNLF presents photo proof Umbra Kato still alive

A ranking official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) presented to news media on Saturday a photograph showing a frail-looking but alive Ameril Umbra Kato, the leader of the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“Contrary to claims made by several groups, Kato is recuperating from stroke,” Mercado Salangani, secretary-general of the tri-media of the MNLF, said Saturday in Cotabato City.

Salangani said the photograph of him and Kato was taken on Dec 8 inside the rebel’s house where he said Kato is staying while recuperating from a stroke.

Salangani refused to reveal Kato’s location.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, who earlier reported that Kato had suffered a stroke, said last November 27 that Kato is still alive.

"Confirmed na-stroke siya (Kato), na serious siya. At a time na-comatose siya pero hindi siya makapagsalita. Ganyan, na-paralyze 'yung kalahati sa katawan kaya hindi siya makakain, hindi makapagsalita,” Jaafar said.

A former commander of the MILF's 105th Base Command, Kato had questioned the MILF's capability to face the government in peace negotiations. He claimed the MILF does not represent the real sentiment of the Bangsamoro people.

Kato was expelled from the MILF and has standing arrest warrants for murder and arson, among others, in connection with the 2008 attacks he led against military and civilian targets in Central Mindanao.

"(Kato), his companions and followers are 'BUGHAAT.' (His) companions and followers are no longer members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front unless they cease and desist without delay their anti-MILF campaigns and other related activities that are intended to discredit and destruct the entire legitimate leadership of the MILF and henceforth return at once to the fold of the MILF," the MILF said last August. — ELR, GMA News
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December 10, 2011 8:29pm

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