It’s a battle of old vs new
The ongoing battle in Marawi City brought to fore a struggle between the old and new armed groups in Muslim Mindanao.
Professor Mohagher Iqbal, the chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, told the Inquirer in a recent interview that the MILF was also facing challenges from the younger, more radical Maute Group.
“The challenge is very confrontational and harsh,” Iqbal said, adding:
“If you ask the Maute Group, they look at the MILF as a non-Islamic organization. The real challenge is the battle for legitimacy… supremacy, territory and recruits.”
The Maute Group wants a bigger territory and has been luring young people who are “attracted to something daring and to new ideas,” Iqbal said.
The MILF, the biggest armed Moro organization in the country, has fought a secessionist war with the government since the 1980s.
In 2014, it forged a peace agreement with the Aquino administration, similar to what its predecessor, the Moro National Liberation Front, inked with Ramos administration in 1996.
But frustrations over the protracted peace negotiations have given rise to breakaway factions in the MILF such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. —Nikko Dizon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.