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MNLF official: Misuari surfaces, renews call for independence

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Fugitive Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari surfaced and reiterated his declaration of independence to show strong opposition against the agreement forged by the government with his group's breakaway faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an MNLF official said.

Habib Mujahab Hashim, MNLF’s Islamic Command Council chief, said he was informed of Misuari’s declaration  by the former’s secretary-general Ustadz Murshi as the group commemorated the first year of independence under the Bangsamoro Republik last August 12, 2013 at Barangay Lampaya, Panamao town. 

“I was informed there was a gathering (of MNLF members and leaders) but not so big with limited number of commanders and he (Misuari) surfaced to reiterate his call for independence,” Hashim said via phone interview.

Hashim said Misuari maintained his call for independence after the planned closure of the tripartite review on the 1996 MNLF final peace agreement which he said was the government's unilateral act of abrogating the accord.

The MNLF official also belied military reports that Misuari is already ailing and weak while in hiding in Sulu to avoid being arrested. 

“He is very much in command and strong contrary to the reports of the military and police about Misuari’s health condition,” Hashim said.

Misuari went into hiding after allegedly directing the Zamboanga siege last September 9,  with more than 500 of his members led by Ustadz Habier Malik taking at least four villages and attempting to raise their Bangsamoro Republik flag.

The siege that lasted for 23 days left close to 200 people killed, more than 100 people wounded, including civilians, soldiers, police and rebels, and sent over 120,000 people fleeing their homes. 

Misuari with over 200 followers was charged with rebellion and violation of the international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, ?Hashim also said that MNLF foreign affair secretary Abubakar Abdulbaki met with Misuari on Sunday in Sulu and briefed the leader of the result of the MNLF meeting with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation last June. 

Hashim said the military was informed of the visit and meeting of Abdulbaki with Misuari to allay security fears.

“There is nothing to worry or be apprehensive about the meeting. It was more on political and the military were informed,” Hashim added.

ABUBAKAR ABDULBAKI

BANGSAMORO REPUBLIK

BARANGAY LAMPAYA

FUGITIVE MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT

HABIB MUJAHAB HASHIM

HASHIM

ISLAMIC COMMAND COUNCIL

MISUARI

MNLF

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