Nur Misuari waning influence?
MNLF endorses Gov. Tan as ARMM Regional Governor
On 12 August 2012, the different leaders of MNLF as well as supporters and NGOs held a meeting at Azenith Hotel in Zamboanga City. All of them decided to support three-termer Tausug Gov. Abdusakur Tan, as the official candidate for the Regional Governor of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) in the upcoming 2013 election.
The MNLF Central Committee led by Alvarez Isnaji wrote an open letter to President Benigno Aquino III stating that they strongly recommend Tan as the best and only viable candidate suited to be handling the highest position in the ARMM. They also stated in their letter that since ARMM was the result of the GPH-MNLF 1996 peace talk it is only proper for them to select a rightful leader to run the affairs in the government.
Division of MNLF
(Sources: abs-cbnglobal.com, sulu.gov.ph, cotabatocitysp.com) (Alvarez Isnaji, Nur Misuari and Muslimin Sema)
In the early 2000 the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) council of 15 decided to nominate another chairperson for their group to undermine the influence of Nur Misuari in the group as well as stating that Misuari was incompetent for the position of government of the ARMM. The council of 15 wanted to restructure their organization therefore cleanse their organization from mismanagement done by Misuari during his reign as the ARMM Regional Governor. Misuari was then replaced by Mayor of Cotabato city, Muslimin Sema. Misuari did not accept the decision of the council of 15 and stated that he was still the Chairman of the MNLF. This divided the MNLF into MNLF-Sema and MNLF-Misuari. The split also resulted to a creation of Executive council of 15.
The prominent members of the Council of 15 are Hatimil Hassan (Basilan -MNLF vice chair), Parouk Hussin (Tausug -MNLF Foreign Minister), Muslimin Sema (Maguindanao- MNLF secretary general and elected mayor of Cotabato City), and Lt. Gen. Cong Sahrin (Tausug - MNLF head of the Joint Monitoring Committee). 1st District Representative Yusop Jikiri of Sulu was also said to have joined the group.
After being ousted by the MNLF executive council of 15 as the chairman of the MNLF, Misuari stated that he was still the MNLF chairman and Sema and the others cannot replace him for he is still more influential and more favored by the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference). It was indeed true that the OIC acknowledges Misuari while they do not acknowledge MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) but stated that the MILF and MNLF should unify once again. They also stated that the council of 15 was difficult when it comes to negotiating with them.
According to reports, the MNLF have been divided into four groups namely: MNLF-Sema, MNLF-Misuari, MNLF Central Committee led by Isnaji and RME (Rogue MNLF-Misuari).
After the split, the ground troops, mainly the armed wing of the MNLF still recognizes Misuari as the chairman of the MNLF thus creating Sulu State Revolutionary Command (SSRC) comprising MINSUPALA (Mindanao-Sulu-Basilan-Palawan) commands. Its leaders are Khaid Ajibon and Ustadz Khabier Malik. While MNLF-Sema faction was composed of mainly prominent families in the ARMM region.
Misuari next move
(Source: maps.google.com) (Sulu and Tawi-Tawi)
According to reports, Misuari was also vying for the position of the Regional Government of the ARMM this coming election. The perceived pro-Misuari faction of the MNLF Central Committee under Isnaji have already shown the support for Gov. Tan proves that Misuari’s influence and credibility in the MNLF are waning and is in question.
Recent reports also indicated that Misuari is currently tapping the RME who are pro-Misuari by giving away financial assistance to them. It was stated that Misuari has lost the trust of some MNLF elements thus are now trying to gain back their sympathy and support by giving away financial assistance. There also have been several reports of MNLF-Misuari in Sulu transferred to the MILF faction due to loss of trust in Misuari.
In the recent reports of activities conducted by Misuari, he was known to have tapped Khabir Malik in Sulu. Khabir Malik has been known to be a staunch supporter of Misuari and has several followers under him. Misuari gave instructions to several RME Commanders in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to conduct simultaneous attacks against military detachments in Sulu as well as procuring ammunitions in the area. It was also stated that Misuari gave instructions to RME members in Tawi-Tawi in organizing and training members as well as distributing financial assistance to the RME members in the area.
Thus, it seems that Misuari is aiming to conduct simultaneous atrocities in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi due to the non-implementation of the 1996 GPH-MNLF final peace agreement. Also, it may be due to being sidelined by the GPH-MILF peace talk that has been going smoothly these past few months. Lastly, Misuari might be conducting these attacks in order to gain more attention from the government and other MNLF factions as well as to show the strength of the MNLF-Misuari.