Rival Islamic groups to unite

(From left) Ghafar, Jesus, Johari and Murad at the launch of the peace accord yesterday. — Picture by Malay Mail
(From left) Ghafar, Jesus, Johari and Murad at the launch of the peace accord yesterday. — Picture by Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will join hands and work together with the Philippine government to achieve peace and security in Mindanao.

MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said the two organisations are working towards containing the ideology of Islamic State and groups that might be inspired by it.

“We have formed a special group to probe the possible infiltration of IS sympathisers, with other preventative programmes done to counter radicalisation in the area of our control.

“MNLF, under Nur Misuari, has deployed men to the Sulu islands to contain Abu Sayyaf. It is a collective effort that in the end will help the peace process in Mindanao,’’ he said.

Murad was speaking at the launch of the implementing phase of the Bangsamoro Peace Accord at the Palace of the Golden Horses in Sungei Besi yesterday.

The launch will see the end of 17 years of negotiations which have been mediated by the Malaysian government between the Philippine government and MILF as they now enter a formal partnership for peace. 

The implementation phase will focus on how to implement the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro after the non-passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law during the country’s 16th Congress session.

According to Murad, he will extend an olive branch to those who share the same aspirations for peace and development of the welfare of the Bangsamoro.

“We need to achieve peace in the region to counter dissidents who could be susceptible to radicalisation. Groups such as Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were created during periods when peace talks were stalled.

“Their anger and frustration could have mutated. Coupled with an environment of uncertainty, they turned to armed conflict. But we are working very hard to present an alternative option for them,’’ he said.

Representative of the Philippine government and presidential advisor on the peace accord Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, who was also present, said they do not wish for further bloodshed, but said terrorist groups will be severely dealt with.

“Terror groups such as the Abu Sayyaf will be dealt with an iron fist. We strongly condemn the their behaviour and actions of kidnapping people for ransom, beheading their captives and other criminal activities.

“It will be a tough road ahead for all the stakeholders involved but we are committed to see it through,’’ he said.

Also present at the launch was was Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Barum, facilitator of the Peace Process between the Philippine government and MILF Tengku Datuk Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed and Malaysian Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Gen Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.

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