Diabetes killed MNLF commander wanted for Zamboanga battle–military
MANILA, Philippines – It was not bullets but his uncontrolled high blood sugar level that killed commander Habier Malik of the Moro National Liberation Front, the Philippine Daily Inquirer was told Friday.
In separate interviews, two sources gave two different versions of Malik’s death but both traced his eventual demise to his diabetes.
But his death last November confirmed one thing: that Malik escaped from the heavy fighting between a group of MNLF guerrillas which he led and government security forces in Zamboanga City last September.
Malik led some 300 fighters MNLF fighters loyal to founding chairman Nur Misuari in what the military claims was an attempt to take over Zamboanga City on grounds that the government had abrogated a 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF to be replaced with a deal the government is negotiating with Moro Islamic Liberation Front, one a faction of the MNLF.
“We know Malik has died. It is a matter of recovering his body,” the Inquirer’s military source said, requesting anonymity.
The source said that Malik was wounded in the Zamboanga fighting. He tried to recuperate in Talipao, Sulu but because he was diabetic, his wounds did not heal. Apparently, the wounds became infected, eventually killing Malik, the source said.
The other source said that Malik escaped to Tawi-Tawi. “After fasting, he supposedly overate and suffered a stroke,” the source said, also on condition of anonymity.
“Malik was diabetic. He tried to take insulin shots to control his sugar level but the medicines didn’t work. He died soon after,” the source said.
The source said that before fleeing the fighting in Zamboanga, Malik left his mobile phone on the body of a slain guerrilla to mislead authorities into believing that the corpse was his.
Malik’s fate after the fighting remained under question, with some Zamboanga City officials saying that knowing what had happened to the rebel leader would put closure to the three-week siege.
In early November, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin expressed confidence that Malik had died because he had not surfaced since the end of the Zamboanga siege.
As for Misuari, the Inquirer sources said that the MNLF founding chairman remained in hiding in Sulu.
The military has given out more than 2,000 combat medals to the officers and men who took part in repelling the MNLF fighters, with the rescue of some 200 hostages as their main mission.
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