Philippines’ Duterte Invites Abu Sayyaf to Peace Talks

 

Zamboanga City, Philippines, MINA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday offered peace to the Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf – a group that notoriously beheaded several of their kidnap victims which included both locals and foreigners.

“Let’s stop this war,” Duterte said in a speech before victims of a fire early this week that razed thousands of homes in Sulu province, a known stronghold of the group.

The president’s offer follows his recent signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a measure that aims to resolve the decades-long Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines.

Duterte called on the militants to give the law a chance.

“It is the children, the elderly and the women that suffer,” he said. “You would be leaving your family without fathers.”

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Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

“My message to the Abu Sayyaf is: I come in peace,” Duterte said.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law is a product of the peace agreement that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed with former President Benigno Aquino III in 2014.

It aims to grant wider autonomy for the Bangsamoro – a collective term for Filipino Muslims — and would replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, a region with more political and fiscal powers, including a bigger annual block grant equivalent to five percent of the total national internal revenue collection. (T/RS5/RS1)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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