Misuari met with 2,000 followers in Sulu, says military
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - February 8, 2016 - 2:19am

MANILA, Philippines — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari, who is facing rebellion charges over the 2013 Zamboanga siege, met with his followers last Sunday in Indanan, Sulu, the military said Monday.

Citing information relayed by "concerned citizens" and some attendees, Joint Task Group Sulu chief Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado said the whole day assembly took place at Camp Astana in Sitio Bakud, Barangay Kagay.

He said the meeting was attended by about 2,000 people including the heads of state revolutionary committees of the MNLF, unit commanders of Bangsamoro armed forces and members of the MNLF central committee parliament. 

The agenda of the meeting reportedly focused on the results of the tripartite review of the 1996 final peace agreement conducted at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the MNLF's version of Bangsamoro independence.

Arrojado said any plan to stage attacks similar to the Zamboanga City siege in 2013 was not brought up.

"As observed, there was no mention of any future hostile actions from the MNLF leadership. The MNLF are (focused on) their organizational structures," he added.

According to the military informants, the attendees welcomed the non-passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying this would be beneficial to their group. The BBL would have implemented the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a breakaway group of the MNLF.

Misuari and about 60 of his followers are facing criminal cases over the Zamboanga crisis, which left more than 200 people dead and P200-million worth of properties damaged. The 20-day crisis started after Misuari's followers tried to hoist their flag at the city hall and held hostage several civilians.

An arrest warrant was issued against Misuari and his followers in October 2013 but until now, security forces have yet to capture the MNLF founder.

An intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said while there are reports about Misuari's whereabouts, authorities have yet to arrest him because "there is no guidance yet from the higher ups."

Military informants said attendees of the meeting designated Misuari's eldest son Hadji Uto Karim Misuari as vice chairman of the MNLF Central Committee. The younger Misuari is said to be in his late 30s and has a master's degree in Arabic and Sharia Law. He succeeded Orlando Olamit, who resigned due to health reasons.

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