Published in Journal Online
THE Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police are watching the movement of heavily-armed members of the Moro National Liberation Front in Mindanao amid intelligence reports that the Nur Misuari-led group is planning to march to Jolo, Sulu, today to declare their Bangsamoro independence anew.
Journal Group sources said soldiers and policemen were asked to be on guard amid reports that around 300 armed MNLF rebels will march to Jolo today even without their leader who is said to be in Madina, Saudi Arabia.
Last August, the MNLF silently marked the first anniversary of the declaration of independence by their chairman from the national government and the establishment of Bangsamoro Republik.
On August 12, 2013, Misuari declared independence from the Philippine government and announced the establishment of Bangsamoro Republik in Talipao, Sulu.
The following month, about 300 MNLF fighters, led by Misuari loyalist Ustadz Habier Malik, laid siege on several barangays in Zamboanga City, sparking almost a month-long armed conflict that left more than 200 MNLF gunmen dead.
Scores of soldiers and policemen were also killed during the heavy fighting that displaced tens of thousands of people as the rampaging MNLF rebels turned hundreds of civilians into ‘human shields.’
The PNP and the Armed Forces eventually reoccupied Zamboanga City following weeks of house-to-house search for the gunmen and their weapons and improvised explosive devices.
Also yesterday, suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters harassed two Army detachments in Barangay Damabalas, Datu Piang, Maguindanao, although there were no reported casualties during the exchange of gunfire.
Soldiers from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division manning their stations in Blue Mosque and Sitio Dam in Bgy. Damabalas stood their ground and forced the gunmen to flee.