Ter­ror group wants ‘I.S. recog­ni­tion’

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

THE Maute ter­ror group, which has drawn mil­i­tants from Malaysia and other coun­tries in the re­gion, launched an all-out at­tack in a ma­jor Philip­pine city to build ‘a global rep­u­ta­tion’. Mean­while, fears are grow­ing for 2,000 peo­ple who are des­per­ate to leave the be­lea­guered city.

“This is the ab­nor­mal se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try. As such, it is un­der­stand­able that any group want­ing to be recog­nised and heard uses vi­o­lence.”

Aye­sah said the con­flict hurt the econ­omy, well­be­ing of the peo­ple and wasted the strength of de­fence forces.

“When a gov­ern­ment fights non-state ac­tors, this causes a long-term frac­ture in na­tion build­ing. This is why peace pro­cesses are pur­sued.”

She, how­ever, said peace pro­cesses were never easy, be­cause there were those who had an in­ter­est in keep­ing con­flicts alive.

Be­ing a wit­ness to the im­pact of armed con­flicts in Min­danao, Aye­sah, who is a Bangsamoro, is pas­sion­ate about us­ing de­vel­op­ment to bring about peace.

Her peace­build­ing work has fo­cused on the peace process be­tween the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment and MILF.

In her doc­toral work, Aye­sah has de­signed sus­tain­able hu­man de­vel­op­ment and peace­build­ing frame­works, which are adopted by the Bangsamoro De­vel­op­ment Agency as the core of the Bangsamoro De­vel­op­ment Plan.

Asked whether she agreed with the use of mar­tial law, she said: “He (Duterte) has im­posed it. Our opin­ions do not mat­ter at this point. But many peo­ple in Min­danao hope mar­tial law will not be im­posed for too long. Peo­ple have a bad mem­ory of mar­tial law.”

Aye­sah said peo­ple in Min­danao were hope­ful that the armed forces would con­tinue to be a cred­i­ble en­forcer of the law.

“It helps that the mil­i­tary lead­er­ship made a pub­lic state­ment that it will up­hold hu­man rights and in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian law. This is a first in his­tory.

“This mil­i­tary trans­for­ma­tion is the re­sult of decades of peace ed­u­ca­tion by civil so­ci­ety groups in Min­danao and their co­op­er­a­tion in the peace process.”

Aye­sah said gov­ern­ments must not work alone but en­gage with non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions to build peace.

“In the ex­pe­ri­ence of Min­danao civil so­ci­ety and the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment in the peace process, their part­ner­ship con­trib­uted to its suc­cess.

“Per­haps it is time that gov­ern­ments con­sider this pos­si­bil­ity of part­ner­ships with the civil so­ci­ety groups.”

Page 1 pic: Philip­pine troops pre­par­ing to fight Maute group mil­i­tants in Marawi yes­ter­day.

EPA PIC

Po­lice are seen man­ning a check­point, through a win­dow dam­aged by a sniper bul­let, in Marawi, the Philip­pines, yes­ter­day.

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