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Veteran Moro guerrillas heading to Sabah

The fighters are veteran members of the Moro National
Liberation Front and some have slipped through
the security forces.
MANILA: Battle-hardened Moro guerrillas have sailed from Mindanao to reinforce followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who are battling Malaysian forces in Sabah, one of their leaders said Wednesday.

The fighters are veteran members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who waged a decades-long insurgency against the Philippine government before signing a 1996 peace pact, Muhajab Hashim told AFP.

“Many have slipped through the security forces. They know the area like the back of their hands because they trained there in the past,” Hashim told AFP.

“We are expecting more of them to join (the fighting) even if our official instruction is for them to refrain from going.”

If the claim is true, the Moro fighters will be engaging Malaysian security forces with little or no experience in warfare.

Hashim could not say how many MNLF fighters had managed to slip through naval cordons set up by the Philippines and Malaysia, but said “thousands” had earlier expressed interest in joining.

Hashim is chairman of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council overseeing all of the group’s armed forces, which were meant to disarm as part of the 1996 peace pact but never fully complied.

He said that although MNLF leaders had not officially instructed their men to sail to Malaysia, they fully supported the sultan’s efforts to reclaim the Malaysian state of Sabah as his territory.

“MNLF fighters are adherents of the sultan, we are followers. So there is more than an alliance,” he said. “We feel very strongly against the attacks against our brothers from Sulu.”

Malaysian security forces launched a major offensive on Tuesday to end a three-week standoff between followers of Kiram that has left at least 27 people dead.

However, the sultan’s aides said in Manila that their followers, believed to originally number between 100 and 300, had escaped Tuesday’s attacks.

The MNLF was founded by Muslim scholar Nur Misuari to fight for a Muslim homeland in Mindanao in the late 1960s, and had once received support from Malaysia







    Don’t Harm Sultan’s Men, Nur Warns Malaysia
    By Edd K. Usman
    February 21, 2013, 8:03pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman Nur Misuari yesterday appealed to Malaysia to settle the Sabah standoff peacefully and warned that his group will come to the aid of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s followers if blood spills.

    “I hope they will not harm them. They (Kiram’s followers) are our brothers. If one drop of their blood is spilled, we might be forced to come to their aid,” Misuari said.

    “Please don’t touch them, give them a friendly and brotherly treatment,” Misuari appealed.
    Misuari was in Zamboanga City yesterday for the MNLF leadership meeting, which he said was attended by some 2,000 leaders from across Mindanao to discuss various issues facing the Bangsamoro people.

    When he was in Jolo, Sulu, over the week, Misuari said that what he heard was that the group of the Crown Prince Rajah Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, younger brother of Kiram, crossed the sea to the island because they were allegedly promised to be settled in Sabah by Prime Minister Dato Seri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Addul Razak.

    Misuari appealed to the prime minister to exercise prudence in dealing with the people of the sultan.


    The above news report carried an allegation that PM Najib made a promise to settle Sulus in Sabah. Nur Misuari the MNLF leader said the Sulus crossed the sea on this promise.

    So Najib is in a way the direct cause of the Sabah Standoff and military chaos now in progress in Eastern Sabah claimed by the Sulus.

    This is a very serious allegation.

    Najib of Bugis descent has tried to present a public image of being very close the Southern Filipinos because of his blood ties. He proudly claimed that his ancestral home is in the Southern Philippines. He has paid a number of visits to the area which received much publicity.

    Was all this just a charade to allay the Filipino claim on Sabah?

    But if the allegation is true- we must ask by what authority did Najib have to make such a promise? Did he first ask the Sabah people or get his statement to be endorsed by Parliament?

    Would Najib be brazen enough to make such a promise in the face of Sabahans' anger over the UMNO engineering of transmigration illegals into Sabah to corrupt elections and democracy.

    A person can be proud of his or her ancestry but their first and primary loyalty is to their country in international relations.

    Has he confused territorial integrity with blood ties and brotherhood?

    Further if this were true why did Najib compromised Sabah's security with such promise? The Sulus sailed into Sabah armed to the teeth to stake a claim on Sabah and according to Nur Misuari - this was because of Najib's "promise".

    The illegals already outnumber real Sabahans two to one and a real Filipino take over of Sabah can happen in just a matter of time.


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