MNLF fighters, soldiers join sports fest
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — At least 200 fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) engaged military troops, not in an armed confrontation, but in a sports competition in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay on Wednesday. 

The MNLF men were pitted against the troopers of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade (IB), as part of an effort to renew camaraderie between the two groups.

Col. Bagnus Gaerlan, 102nd IB commander, said the activity aimed to unite the MNLF and the soldiers in promoting peace and development in the area. 

Gaerlan said the current atmosphere in the area is far from the situation during the height of the Muslim secession in the last three decades or  before the MNLF inked a peace agreement with the Ramos administration in 1996. 

“The revolution started in 1968, then martial law was declared in 1972, which put our country in chaos. It has to end,” MNLF commander Hadji Abdullah Usman said. 

During the event, the MNLF and the military troopers competed in banner raising, ball games such as basketball and volleyball, and fun games such as tug of war and obstacle race course.

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