COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 15 September) — The military on Saturday confiscated 37 assorted long and short firearms during a summit of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Misusari faction in Buluan, Maguindanao.
Lt.Col. Edwin Alburo, spokesperson of the 6th Army Division said armed MNLF-Misuari members were forced to surrender their firearms to soldiers deployed to the area to enforce a law on disbanding armed men.
Alburo said their troops “were alerted by concerned individuals” about the gathering of armed men in camouflage uniforms.
“This is unauthorized,” Alburo said.
At around 12:30 on Saturday noon, after negotiations by the military with the MNLF members led by Ustadz Jamaluddin Abdullah, chief of the “Dragon Border Command” of the MNLF, the MNLF handed over their firearms to the soldiers of the 40th Infantry Battalion.
The MNLF members were not arrested or investigated. They went home after they surrendered their firearms.
The MNLF signed two peace agreements with the government: the Tripoli Agreement of 1976 with the then undivided MNLF under Misuari and the Final Peace Agreement of 1996 with the MNLF faction under Misuari.
The MNLF split into three factions after the failed implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement: MNLF under Misuari, “New MNLF” which was later renamed Moro Islamic Liberation Front under Salamat Hashim and MNLF Reformist Group under Dimas Pundato.
After the Marcos dictatorship was ousted, the Cory Aquino administration offered the hand of peace to the Moro rebels. No peace agreement was forged with the Misuari faction. Exploratory talks were held with the MILF. The MNLF Reformist Group’s leader arrived from exile and joined the government.
The 1996 peace agreement provided for an integration of 7,500 members of the MNLF’s Bangsamoro Armed Forces into the military and police – 5,000 to the military and 2,500 to the police. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)