12 Sulu-bound MNLF recruits held in Zamboanga City
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur –– Authorities have intercepted 12 Sulu-bound members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who came from Zamboanga del Sur, supposedly concerning the establishment of a camp in a village in Siasi town.
Police and soldiers belonging to the Joint Task Force Zamboanga held the MNLF members for questioning as they alighted from a bus around 6:30 a.m. Friday.
Major Edwin Duco, spokesperson of the Zamboanga City Police Office, said the 12 men presented themselves as members of the MNLF’s Pagadian City Base Command and were en route to Laminusa, Siasi for an event.
Duco said the men claimed to be new MNLF recruits.
A certain Nasser Alibasa, one of the 12 men, showed a letter order dated January 5, 2020, addressed to presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. informing him about the camp registration and recognition, to be held in Laminusa.
The letter came from a certain Allang Igbacio Guraili Jr., who was indicated as liaison officer of the MNLF Peace Panel and commandant of the MNLF Coast Guard.
Guraili in his letter claimed that he was under instruction from MNLF founder Nur Misuari, to establish camp in Laminusa.
Guraili further said in his letter that the travel of the 12 men is covered with clearance by President Duterte.
But the police and soldiers did not allow them to pass through the city; they were instructed to board the next bus for Pagadian City.
Sought for comment, Galvez told the Inquirer that the MNLF is “not authorized to establish a new camp.”
“It violates the Final Peace Agreement. What we only allow is the formation of the government-MNLF Peace Coordinating Committee at the national level,” Galvez said.
He added that the supposed directive from Guraili “is illegal since there is only one Philippine Coast Guard.”
About six of the 12 men were young, and during the initial interrogation, a couple of them cried due to fear.
Alibasa said they were just passing through the city, unaware that MNLF movements were restricted here.
“We are (just) passing through, our destination is Siasi, Sulu and we mean no harm in passing here,” Alibasa said in Tagalog, admitting that they were all traumatized by the experience.
The military and police here have continued to impose a “No ID, No Entry” policy, skeptical about movements of armed men, especially those identified with Misuari, whose followers laid siege on the city in September 2013.
Edited by LZB
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