COTABATO, Philippines, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Hours before the resumption of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, the Philippines' largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), formally expelled its senior renegade commander who formed his own armed group in the restive south.
Von Al Haq, spokesman for the 11,000-strong MILF, said by phone Monday from his hideout in the southern province of Maguindanao they will not provide any aid if state government forces launches ground and air offensive against Ameril Ombra Kato, leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Mr. Al Haq said Kato, seen by state officials as threat to the ongoing peace talks between Manila and his organization, was officially removed from the list of their members as decided by their Central Committee due to his defiance.
"There was no ultimatum anymore for him to return to us. He was removed from the organization. He is defiant. We have sent several emissaries, including those senior to him but there was no positive result," Al Haq said.
"The document regarding his expulsion will come out anytime," he added.
Manila and MILF negotiators will resume Monday their talks in Malaysia.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government peace panel is expected to "discuss" the issue of Kato with its MILF counterpart.
She also said the government panel is expected to tackle the " consequences" of the MILF's so-called lost commands.
Kato, who is in his late 60s and leads a breakaway force of 200 to 300 fighters heading the Front's 105th Base Command, decided to separate from the main rebel group over disagreements on the handling of peace process and for allegedly abandoning him in the aftermath of the 2008 violence that escalated after the government failed to sign the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.
In December last year, he formalized his separation from the MILF and announced the formation of the BIFF and called for jihad, or holy war, for a separate Muslim state.