The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said it played a vital role in the safe release of an 8-year-old boy who was held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu for over 7 months.
Habib Mudjahab Hashim, chairman of MNLF Islamic Command Council said, their ground commanders in Sulu headed the negotiations, and it took some time before they were able to convince the kidnappers to release the boy without payment of ransom.
He said pressure from military offensives might have also contributed to the ASG’s decision to release the boy.
He added that their assistance in the boy’s release shows the MNLF’s commitment to resume peace negotiations with the Philippine government as they iron out conflicts within their organization.
Although Misuari has been suffering from health issues due to gout for the past few years, he is physically and mentally capable to head the negotiating table for the MNLF, the council chair said.
Misuari is expected to meet other Islamic leaders this month in relation to the pending resumption of peace negotiations with the government.
The suspension of his arrest warrant will expire in April, but Hashim said, they could file an extension in court to give ample time for Misuari to deal with the peace negotiations.
Misuari has a standing arrest warrant for rebellion and violation of international humanitarian law in relation to the 2013 Zamboanga siege, where he led his armed followers in a deadly attack which left hundreds dead and thousands homeless.