MILF, MNLF won’t aid Abus in Bohol rescue—prov’l BM

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNFL) assured a Bohol Provincial Board (PB) member that they will have no hand in any attempt to rescue Abu Sayyaf bandits who survived the Inabanga clash last week.

The assurance was made by three commanders of the MILF and MNLF who are based in Maguindanao and Cotabato amid purported plans of the Abu Sayyaf to save the bandits who are believed to still be in the province, said Board Member Ricky Masamayor in a privilege speech on Friday morning.

According to Masamayor whose father traces roots to Sultan Kudarat province, he personally spoke with three leaders of the Moro separatist groups after the Holy Week when he visited his family’s hometown of Libak.

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One of the commanders was a classmate of Masayamor’s father and a trusted aide of MNLF founding chairman and former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao governor Nur Misuari, the Bohol legislator said.

The MILF and MNLF commanders reportedly told Masamayor that the Abu Sayyaf was running low on funds prompting the bandit group to hatch a kidnapping in the region while avoiding security forces in Mindanao where their movements are limited due to their notoriety.

They also said that the Abu Sayyaf has had movements in the Visayas since last year visiting areas including Cebu, Bohol and Leyte with militant Joselito Melloria who is reportedly the group’s “spotter” due to his familiarity with the area.

Melloria who is a native of Napo, Inabanga where the clash between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf erupted on Tuesday last week is still believed to be on the run and hiding in the hinterlands of said town with around seven other militants.

According to information gathered by Masamayor in Mindanao, the Abu Sayyaf’s incursion into Bohol was a “test mission” for Melloria who was being eyed for promotion into a commander of the bandit group.

Melloria who is also reportedly a son-in-law of an MILF commander is believed to have been officially welcomed into the group of slain Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Muamar Askali, alias Abu Rami, in 2016.

Since last year, the government has been urging the MNLF and its breakaway group MILF to cut ties with the Abu Sayyaf.

President Duterte had indicated that negotiations between the government and the Moro separatists groups will not move forward if they do not sever ties with the bandit group. (Rey Tutas)



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