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BIFM sends Kato's proof-of-life

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) sent a proof that its founding-leader Ameril Umbra Kato is alive.

In a photo and letter obtained by through Prof. Rommel Banlaoi, BIFM spokesman Abu Missry Mama reiterated that Kato is well and ready to fight.

Banlaoi is a peace scholar and the Executive Director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research.

Mama said the letter and photo were aimed at ending once and for all circulating reports that Kato was already dead as insisted by its rival the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"Kalakip nito (letter) ang larawan namin ni Ustadz Amerial Umbra Kato at sana'y maniwala ang mga hindi naniniwala na buhay pa ang chairman ng BIFM," Mama noted.

He claimed that the photo was taken last January 10 during his meeting with Kato in the hinterlands of Maguindanao.
The photo showed Kato wearing a brown silk polo shirt with the spokesman of the BIFM. It is, however, evident that the BIFM leader has lost weight as compared to his previous public appearances.

The letter and photo were sent to Banlaoi through courier company LBC.

In December 2010, news proliferated that Kato, who is facing multiple murder charges for the August 2008 Maguindanao attack, due to a stroke following a long walk sometime in November.

While the BIFM denied the report, the MILF insisted that it has reliable sources that confirmed the death of Kato.
By Jun Pasaylo January 20, 2012 11:33 AM


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