MNLF Denies Misuari Wants to Include Sayyaf in Peace Talks

Manila, Philippines, 26 Dzulhijjah 1437/28 September 2016 (MINA) – The Moro National Liberation Front denied yesterday the claim of President Duterte that MNLF founder Nur Misuari has asked for the inclusion of the Abu Sayyaf in the peace negotiations with the government.

“We vehemently deny that chairman Misuari wants Abu Sayyaf to be included in the negotiation, we condemn terrorist actions,” The Star quoted MNLF spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla as saying.

He was reacting to the statement of Duterte last Monday that the MNLF sought a ceasefire and that the Abu Sayyaf be included in the talks.

“The MNLF assured President Duterte that Abu Sayyaf bandits would be out of any negotiation, government forces could continue their military operations while the peace (with MNLF) is ongoing,” he said.

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Fontanilla said the ceasefire that the MNLF suggested was intended to allow MNLF forces to move to Abu Sayyaf camps to secure the remaining hostages held by the bandits without the risk of mistaken encounter with government troops.

He said Misuari, in a gesture of goodwill, has heeded the call of the President to help secure the release of the hostages, among whom Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and a handful of captives have gained freedom.

Fontanillla said MNLF forces have been engaging Abu Sayyaf bandits, resulting in the death of some MNLF guerrillas.

He ruled out any participation of the Abu Sayyaf in the peace talks and they are just waiting for the lifting of the arrest warrant against Misuari so that he could come out and lead the MNLF panel at the negotiating table.

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Fontanilla expressed concern that some people might have been feeding false information to the President to disrupt the resumption of peace talks with the government. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)