ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari has "established" a federated state and named him as the president following the declaration of independence early this week in Sulu province, an MNLF official said.
In a statement, Murshi Ibrahim, Misuari's chief of staff, said Misuari declared the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik in Daira, Barangay Lampaya, Autonomous Federated State of Lupah Sug, according to Habib Mujahab Hashim, chairman of the MNLF Islamic Command Council (ICC).
He said Ibrahim stated that Misuari has also declared himself as the commander-in-chief of the Bangsamoro Armed Forces (BAF) of what the erstwhile leader called as the 193rd member nation of the UN.
“For all peace and freedom loving people of the world and oppressed Bangsamoro, salam. For the sake of peace and egalitarian democracy, H.E Prof. Nur Misuari of the Bangsamoro Republik and commander-in-chief of the BAF, has declared the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik in Daira Lampaya, Talipao Autonomous Federated State of Lupah Sug,” Hashim quoted the statement of Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said the declaration of Misuari was made under the authority of the United Nation General Assembly 1514 resolution of 1960 granting independence to all colonized countries.
Ibrahim added that MNLF group under Misuari will pursue its independence through peaceful and legal means.
Misuari's faction has expressed opposition to the proposed Bangsamoro entity under the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Misuari has also complained about the reported plan of the Philippine government to put a closure to the tripartite review that will implement in full the 1996 final peace agreement signed during the Ramos administration.
Misuari faction believes that the government talks with the MILF would sideline the MNLF, despite being the sole recognized representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“Now, we are a sovereign nation under a colonial occupation of President Pnoy’s (Benigno Aquino III) regime,” Ibrahim stated, according to Hashim.
Hashim said it was unclear whether the declaration also meant a call for hostilities.
However, he said they have received unconfirmed reports of movements in several key areas in Mindanao in support of Misuari. He declined to identify the areas to prevent panic among civilians.
Hashim said for that for his group’s part, they remain neutral between the government and Misuari.
“However, if the MNLF-GPH final peace agreement is already abrogated, the MNLF is left with no option but independence,” Hashim said.
According to Hashim he was also unaware about the move of former Cotabato mayor Muslimin Sema, who chairs the MNLF Executive Council (EC), to oust Misuari as their leader a few years ago.