Palace welcomes OIC criticism of Misuari
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang welcomed yesterday a report saying the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) criticized Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari for masterminding a three-week siege in Zamboanga City last September.

The siege left more than 200 people dead and displaced some 120,000 people.

Based on the report, a top-level diplomat who attended the recently concluded meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Guinea said OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called for a closed-door meeting to discuss the Zamboanga attack.

“Secretary General Ihsanoglu said Misuari made a ‘wrong move’ when he resorted to violence in trying to assert his cause,” the report said.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Philippines also saw the siege as “a wrong move” and “we are certainly happy that the organization of Islamic states has realized that the action taken by Chairman Nur Misuari was damaging to his cause and to Zamboanga and to the cause of the MNLF.”

With respect to other factions calling for the replacement of Misuari as MNLF leader, Lacierda said it was  issue beyond their control.

“We’ll leave it with the MNLF to decide on the course of action and the leadership of MNLF,” Lacierda said.

But certainly, Lacierda said they would like to work with people who could push forward the peace agenda and the reform agenda of both the MNLF and the government.

Based on the report, the OIC also adopted a resolution saying the loss of innocent lives and property during the MNLF attack was “deplorable.”

The resolution also “called upon member states and Islamic relief organizations to help generously in the efforts of relief and reconstruction operation to allow the quick return of the many thousand displaced people to their homes and to compensate the victims.”

The organization has yet to comment on the petition of other MNLF groups who want to have Misuari replaced as the sole representative of the Bangsamoro people before the OIC.

The OIC earlier expressed its full support for the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, even as it called for an “integration” of the MILF and MNLF peace efforts.

A local court in Zamboanga City has issued arrest warrants against Misuari, MNLF commander Habier Malik, Bas Arki and Assamin Hussin in connection with the Zamboanga City attack that led to the deaths of over 200 people and the displacement of thousands of residents.

The issuance of arrest warrants came after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed rebellion charges and violation of the International Humanitarian Law (Republic Act 9851)  against Misuari, Malik and 60 others for the assault on Zamboanga City.

The other 57 charged are now under detention at the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City.

Misuari remains at large while there is no confirmation on whether Malik is dead or alive.

BAS ARKI AND ASSAMIN HUSSIN CHAIRMAN NUR MISUARI COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EDWIN LACIERDA HABIER MALIK LACIERDA MISUARI MNLF ZAMBOANGA CITY
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