MNLF faction led by Sema not joining Misuari-led attack on Zamboanga City

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In this handout photo released by the Philippine Information Agency Region IX shows Philippine military troops come down from a military truck as they secure an area in Zamboanga city, southern Philippines, Monday Sept. 9, 2013. A Philippine navy patrol clashed early Monday with suspected members of the Moro National Liberation Front guerrillas aboard several boats, before the rebels stormed a coastal community and took about a dozen hostages, officials said. AP

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, Philippines –- Members of a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction has decided to remain in their respective communities and will not join MNLF forces in Zamboanga City siege.

“Our forces in mainland Mindanao and those in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi area are not joining our brother MNLF who attacked Zamboanga City Monday,” Muslimin Sema, chair of a faction of the MNLF, said on Monday.

“We condemn the attack on innocent civilians,” Sema said, adding that their forces have remained calm in their communities and would not join the uprising.

“I have instructed the MNLF under my command to stay put and allow the peaceful resolution of the Zamboanga incident,” he said.

“We remain committed to the 1996 peace agreement,” Sema said, adding that his faction has expressed loyalty to the 1996 GPH-MNLF accord which is the subject of a tripartite review by the MNLF, government and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation through the Indonesian government.

“The Zamboanga siege by some MNLF forces acted on their own and had no sanctions from MNLF forces that I lead,” Sema said.

MNLF is now fragmented into three factions, one headed by Sema, the other by Nur Misuari and the other by the ICC or the MNLF-Islamic Command Council.

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