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Philippine Govt rejects OIC on MNLF camps

by AJLPP Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 8:11 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Philippines has rejected the request of the powerful Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)—the United Nations of Muslim majority countries, whose official observer for the Philippines is the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)—to give back to the MNLF’s Ustadz Habier Malik the two camps that government troops wrested from Malik on April 15. The OIC is helping all parties in the Mindanao conflicts keep the peace. Its richer members are pouring development aid into Mindanao and have pledged to invest billions to make Mindanao and the Filipino Muslims enjoy prosperity and modernization. Malik had issued a declaration of jihad (holy war) against the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines after government troops overran his MNLF camps in retaliation for his group’s attack, using mortars, on a Marine base. Malik’s attack killed two Marines.

Philippine Govt rejects OIC on MNLF camps

By Francis Earl Cueto, Reporter

Manila-- The Philippines has rejected the request of the powerful Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)—the United Nations of Muslim majority countries, whose official observer for the Philippines is the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)—to give back to the MNLF’s Ustadz Habier Malik the two camps that government troops wrested from Malik on April 15.

The OIC is helping all parties in the Mindanao conflicts keep the peace. Its richer members are pouring development aid into Mindanao and have pledged to invest billions to make Mindanao and the Filipino Muslims enjoy prosperity and modernization.

Malik had issued a declaration of jihad (holy war) against the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines after government troops overran his MNLF camps in retaliation for his group’s attack, using mortars, on a Marine base. Malik’s attack killed two Marines.

Sulu became tense in April and May as sporadic fighting broke out between Malik’s 400-man group and AFP units. Thousands of families ( at least 20,000) were displaced from their homes.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said that Egyptian diplomat Sayyed Kassen El-Masry, special adviser to OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, expressed the OIC request during the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 15 to 17.

Seguis said it would be impossible for the government to heed the OIC’s call.

“This is a law-enforcement matter,” he said.

Seguis defended the Philippine government’s move against MNLF’s Malik and his camps. He said Malik is wanted by authorities for launching unprovoked attacks against a Marine outpost in April and killing two Marines.

“Right now, the military is in the process of developing the camps. I also stressed that there is no attack against the MNLF and that there is no violation of the peace accord,” Seguis said.

OIC Communique : Cease Hostilities Immediately

In a communiqué issued in Islamabad, OIC ministers “called for immediate cessation of hostilities in Sulu and return to the Status Quo Ante of all AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and MNLF forces for the acceleration of the comprehensive security arrangements between the two parties which was under review.”

They also expressed concern over the outbreak of hostilities between the AFP and MNLF fighters under Malik and urged both sides to comply with the implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement.

The ministers also urged Manila to provide “urgent humanitarian assistance” to alleviate the suffering of civilian victims and help in the rehabilitation of the displaced people.

In his speech before the OIC’s plenary meeting, Seguis noted that the AFP was in pursuit of terrorist elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group with infiltrators from the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah when the armed encounter between the military and the MNLF took place.

“In accordance with previous arrangements, the Philippine military commanders in the area negotiated for three days with the MNLF commanders to allow them to enter their areas of control to avoid any misencounter,” he said.

*****

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