Christians arming themselves for possible rebel attacks—bishop

(Update on bombing on Immaculate Conception Cathedral, a repost fromCBCPNews)

MANILA, July 8, 2009— A Catholic bishop is worried over reports that some Christians in Mindanao are arming themselves to protect their families from possible Muslim rebel attacks.

Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said the Christians are being organized into a group with the task of countering violent attacks against them.

Bagaforo said they have yet to verify the existence of such movement which has already been sending “feelers” that they are going to give a fight with the rebels.

“It seems this violent reaction is what they would like to offer in result to what is happening in Mindanao today,” he said.

But the bishop rejected the move, saying that violence is never the answer. “Let’s not take violence in solving our problems now,” said Bagaforo.

Authorities in Mindanao are currently on full alert after a spate of bombing incidents in Cotabato City, Jolo, Sulu and Iligan City.

It can be recalled that at the height of the violence spilling from the botched Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain last year, the Christian vigilante group, Reform Ilaga Movement, resurfaced and warned the MILF to stop their atrocities against the civilians.

On Monday, the military reported that the series of attacks in Central Mindanao by the MILF is part of their grand plan to sow terror in the region.

Since January, a total of 38 attacks have been recorded by the military with the blast.

And with the threat of the series continuing in the coming days, Bagaforo then appealed to those responsible to the series of attacks to please spare the innocent civilians.

“A condemnation to the highest degree and I think this is an example of an act of brutality against innocent civilians and, therefore, we are condemning it,” he added.

“We are making our appeal to whoever are responsible for this to come to their senses. Let’s spare the civilians if this is related to the war between the military and the MILF,” he also said. (CBCPNews)

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