CEBU City, Jan. 21, 2015— Some Christians are arming themselves against extremists in Southern Philippines because they are getting increasingly “desperate,” said a Catholic bishop.
Bishop Angelito Lampon of the Vicariate of Jolo, where Christians are a minority, said the militant organization, “Red God Soldiers,” may have grown out of frustration and fear.
“This is a kind of desperate attempt by these Christians who are being attacked now and then by these armed groups,” said Lampon who is currently in Cebu for the bishops’ plenary assembly and the International Eucharistic Congress.
300 armed Christians
In an apparent show of force, around 300 members of the armed Christian group on Tuesday showed their firearms, as they vowed to drive Moro renegades from their communities.
The group also burned a flag of the Islamic State and condemned recent attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Police officials said the BIFF was behind the spate of deadly attacks on civilian communities last month in Mindanao and had pledged allegiance to IS militants in the Middle East.
The militamen said they are ready to fight the BIFF for the sake of their families, communities, and in the name of self-defense.
According to the prelate, he sees the uprising among Christian community as a way of calling on the government to address their problem.
“If the government troops can defend civilians whether they are Muslims or Christians, then I think it will not come to this,” added Lampon.
“If only there’s enough security for them, I think they will not take up arms. But if they feel helpless, I guess it’s their form of self-defense,” he said. (CBCP News)