From the Daily Tribune (Aug 28): Gov’t forces trying to contain Misuari in Sulu — DND chief
Government security forces are carefully assessing how to effect the warrant of arrest against Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari to prevent possible bloodshed.
In a broadcast interview, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that government security troops are currently trying to constrict Misuari in one area in Sulu.
Gazmin said that coordination between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are continuous.
“The AFP right now in Sulu is trying to contain him (Misuari). Now, he has a warrant of arrest, the one that needs to serve the warrant will be the PNP so that it’s a joint operation between the PNP and AFP,” Gazmin said.
Asked how many battalion of security forces would be utilized to effect Misuari’s arrest, Gazmin replied “yan ang ina-assess nating maigi para sa ganun hind imaging bloody yung confrontation kung saka-sakaling i-serve sa kanya yung warrant.”
The defense chief’s response confirmed The Tribune’s report previously warning that arresting Misuari could lead to another conflict in Mindanao.
The Tribune, quoting informed military sources, earlier reported that arresting Misuari may spark a full-blown war in Mindanao, citing the support the MNLF chairman still enjoys from Muslim elders, particularly in his home province of Sulu.
The sources also said that Misuari remained in Sulu.
“Unlike ordinary criminals whom we can easily arrest without the danger of waging a war, capturing Misuari, at this time, would lead to another conflict,” one of the Tribune sources said.
After almost one year in hiatus, Misuari resurfaced last Aug. 12 on the outskirts of Sulu to address his MNLF supporters during the first anniversary of the declaration of Bangsamoro Republic.
Wearing camouflage uniform with bandoleer, Misuari appeared healthy in a photograph released by the MNLF.
Misuari is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 13 in connection with the September 2013 siege on Zamboanga City by more than 300 MNLF fighters.
Misuari was ordered arrested October last year, along with MNLF commanders Ustadz Habier Malik, Bas Akri and Assamin Hussin.
Misuari was charged with genocide and rebellion after being tagged as the brains behind the 21-day Zamboanga City siege.
More than 200 MNLF fighters and soldiers were killed during the conflict.
Misuari’s supporters, led by Malik, wanted to raise the MNLF flag at the Zamboanga City Hall but were prevented by authorities, leading to the armed confrontation.