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‘Duterte must cross Abu turf to meet with Misuari’

/ 12:57 AM May 31, 2016

ZAMBOANGA CITY—It will be a security nightmare if President-elect Rodrigo  Duterte insists on meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari in the latter’s hideout in Indanan, Sulu.

Habib Mudjahab Hashim, chair of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, told the Inquirer it was not safe for Duterte to visit the MNLF’s founding chair “because going to Misuari’s hideout, in going up we have to go through Abu Sayyaf territory.”

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“There is no guarantee the Abu Sayyaf will not sabotage the meeting,” Hashim said.

Duterte earlier said he wanted to visit Misuari and settle a misunderstanding involving an MNLF delegation that went to Davao City to see him after the election but failed to get an audience.

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The MNLF delegation claimed some people around Duterte blocked their attempt to meet with the next president.

“You said you were snubbed, but believe me I don’t do that. I was there for 21 hours,” Duterte said, after he heard the delegation had left.

Col. Rolando Bautista, whom Duterte had named as the next chief of the  Presidential Security Group, said that if the president-elect pushes through with his plan to visit Misuari, “all security issues” should be considered.

Misuari has been in hiding since he was accused of leading the siege of Zamboanga City in 2013 that left some 200 people dead and hundreds of  thousands displaced from their homes.

Unlike the rapport he has exhibited with the communist rebels, offering them amnesty and pardons, Duterte said he was still thinking about how to handle the MNLF, and his priority was to talk to Misuari.

Duterte, who knows Misuari well, said he was thinking about asking him to surrender. “I will talk to him,” he said.

He said he also needed to talk to Misuari about the Abu Sayyaf.

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Nation, news, Rodrigo Duterte
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