Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter founder Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato is dead.
The confirmation came from Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal following reports that Kato died before dawn on Tuesday.
Several reports reaching SecurityMatters said Kato died of cardiac arrest at around 2 a.m. in his hideout in Bagan village in Guindulungan, Maguindanao.
Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsodin Dimaukom also confirmed Kato’s death.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Kakilala, however, said the military is still verifying the BIFF leader’s death.
In 2011, Kato also suffered a stroke and was reported dead.
A report on Inquirer.net, meanwhile, said Kato was buried at around 7 a.m., in the village of Kateman, also in Guindulungan.
Kato was the commander of the MILF’s 105th Base Command. He and his men broke away from the separatist group in 2008 when the Supreme Court junked a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between the MILF and the Arroyo administration.
He formed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and later on, its armed group, BIFF.