The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has created an Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Terrorism Task Force composed of well-trained combatants who will help the government go after kidnappers and terrorists operating in Sulu province.
About 1,500 members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from all over Mindanao are expected to converge on Saturday, July 1, at the main headquarters of the MNLF in Indanan, Sulu for the formal launching of the task force.
MNLF Central Committee deputy secretary general for military affairs Abuamri Taddik said the front has initially readied one battalion of MNLF combatants for the task force in Sulu but later grew this to four companies of MNLF combatants.
A company of MNLF is composed of about 130 combatants, and a battalion is composed of about 700 MNLF combatants and officers, Taddik explained.
“Initially, we will create four companies of MNLF for the task force and they will be deployed in the troubled towns of Talipao, Parang, Indanan and Patikul in Sulu,” he said.
He said these are the four towns in Sulu known which are known as havens for kidnappers and terrorists, most of them members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) with links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
He further said the creation of the task force in Sulu is aimed at making Sulu province peaceful and not a dumping ground for kidnapped victims.
Abdul Sahrin, MNLF central committee secretary general said the MNLF decided to form the task force to help the government in its peace building efforts.
“We want to use this battalion of MNLF combatants to help the government neutralize kidnappers and terrorists in Sulu province. Dahil ito ang malaking problema sa komunidad (This is the biggest problem facing our community),” Sahrin said.
“We want to help the Duterte government in its peace effort as we also want to bring back the peace and tranquility of Sulu as experienced by the people in the ’60s,” Sahrin added.
Sahrin also explained that before the MNLF combatants engage the terrorists, they will first talk to them and to their relatives about their activities and will ask them to stop or face the consequences.
“We will exhaust every effort by means of advising them, and if they will insist (on doing) what we do not like them to do, we are going to use our force,” Sahrin said.