Top MILF official succumbs to stroke

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/04 May)—A senior official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front died of cardiac arrest Thursday night, another top official of the Front confirmed on Friday.

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said that Aleem Abdul Azis Mimbantas, the Front’s vice chairman for military affairs, succumbed to stroke.

“He died in a hospital,” Jaafar told a radio station here, declining to give further details saying the MILF Central Committee would be issuing an official declaration.

Mimbantas reportedly died in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

His last known public appearance was on May 1 when the new president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, visited the Front’s main Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Tanaka vowed that Jica will increase its assistance to Mindanao once the government and the MILF ink a final peace agreement.

Last August, Mimbantas was among the senior rebel officials who accompanied MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in a historic meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III in Tokyo, Japan.

The MILF is the largest Moro armed group in the country waging an armed struggle for self-rule. However, it has dropped its bid for independence and is negotiating instead for a Bangsamoro sub-state with “asymmetrical relations” to the Philippine state.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF have gained a significant stride last month after they agreed on the “ 10 Decision Points on Principles” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)