By MART D. SAMBALUD
TAGUM CITY—The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter said it installed Sheik Ismail Abubakar as the new chairman after the untimely demise of BIFF founder Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato. Sheik Ismail Abubakar was the BIFF’s former Vice Chairman for Political Affairs.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesman of the BIFF, told Davao Today there is “no vacuum of leadership” in BIFF. He said that Abubakar will lead the entire movement to achieve the BIFF’s goal of establishing an independent Islamic State in Mindanao.
Mama said that Kato passed away around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday due to cardiac arrest in his hideout in a remote village in Maguindanao.
“We already paid our last respects to him. He will be buried according to the rites of Islam,” says Mama.
Fondly called by his comrades as “Ustadz”, Kato, who was the former commander of MILF’s 105th base command, bolted from the MILF.
Reports of Kato’s death is spreading like wildfire but the military is yet to confirm Kato’s death pending verification from the military sources on the ground.
Fr. Jun Mercado, an OMI priest based in Cotabato City, described Kato as “a human and religious leader who valued friendship and hospitality over all other things.”
“I had known him for years and respected him for his belief and conviction. He walked his talk and the man died a poor man like the greater majority of the Bangsamoro. May he find his real treasure in paradise,” said Mercado in his Facebook account posted Tuesday.