Gazmin: Military, police planning Misuari arrest
MANILA - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari is now "constricted" in an area in Jolo, Sulu.
Gazmin said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are assessing how to serve the arrest warrant against Misuari so as to avoid bloodshed.
Misuari has a standing warrant of arrest in connection with his MNLF faction's siege in Zamboanga City in November last year.
"That is being assessed carefully so that the confrontation would not be bloody in case the warrant will be served on him," Gazmin said over radio dzRH, when asked how many troops would be deployed to arrest Misuari.
Just recently, the MNLF posted on its website photos of Misuari attending the celebration for the first anniversary of the group's declaration of Bangsamoro independence on August 12.
The celebration was held in Sulu, according to MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza.
The photos showed Misuari wearing a camouflage uniform with bandoleer. Several armed MNLF members were also seen in the photos.
Habib Mudjahab Hashim, chairman of the MNLF's Islamic Council, said Misuari renewed his call for independence in Barangay Lampayag, Panamao town, Sulu on August 24.
In September last year, hundreds of fighters from Misuari's faction attempted to raise their flag in Zamboanga City as part of their quest for independence.
The MNLF men also occupied several villages and took around 200 civilians hostage.
Subsequent military operations resulted in the death of at least 208 MNLF men and capture of 300 others. Dozens of government troops and civilians were also killed in the firefights.