Friday, September 20, 2013

Habier Malik: Misuari's loyal commander in Zamboanga

From GMA News (Sep 19): Habier Malik: Misuari's loyal commander in Zamboanga

Armed men of the Moro National Liberation Front have been fighting it out with government forces in Zamboanga City for 11 days, as of this writing. As the rebels continue to fight with diminishing resources, some of the attention has focused on the man leading their attack in the southern city.

Habier Malik is not a newcomer to firefights, having been involved in clashes against either government troops or other rebel forces such as the Abu Sayyaf Group in the past.

He is reportedly one of those most loyal to MNLF founder and former chairman Nur Misuari.

In November 2001, he led the MNLF armed men who attacked Kabatangan complex, also in Zamboanga City—and also took residents as human shield.

In 2005, Malik's group allegedly went on a killing spree in Panamao, Sulu, leaving 37 soldiers dead, including Lt. Col. Dennis Villanueva.

Malik's group also held hostage former Marine General Benjamin Dolorfino, Undersecretary Ramon Santos and 16 others in February 2007. The group had gone to the MNLF camp in Sulu to conduct a dialogue on problems in the full implementation of the 1996 peace agreement between the government and the group.

Earlier this year, Malik and his men engaged Abu Sayyaf in a firefight in an effort to rescue Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani after negotiations initiated by the former reached an impasse.

Last week, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita 'Ging' Deles was able to talk with Malik in an effort to solve the crisis in Zamboanga City. Malik said Deles should talk with Misuari about the attack on the city. He even said that he would arrange for her to speak with him, but the talk did not push through.

However, Misuari, in a phone conversation with Mayor Beng Climaco, disowned Malik's actions in Zamboanga City.

As of Thursday morning, more than 100 people have been killed in the fighting, including 14 government and police troops and at least seven civilians. On the MNLF's side, 86 have been reported killed.

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