MANILA — President Aquino said last Sunday (Sept. 22) that Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), was involved in the so-called Zamboanga crisis and the government would hold him accountable.
Aquino said in a press conference in Zamboanga City that the government has witnesses who could prove that Misuari has a “direct hand” in the conflict which had already lasted for two weeks.
“The DoJ (Department of Justice) is now preparing the case,” he said, adding that state prosecutors have been in Zamboanga City to interview the former hostages of the armed MNLF members as part of the efforts to gather evidence against Misuari.
The Philippine National Police initially filed charges of rebellion and violations of the International Humanitarian Law against four leaders of MNLF faction last week, but Misuari was not among the respondents.
Aquino had earlier avoided making a categorical statement on the involvement of Misuari in the fighting.
The death toll in the conflict has reached 128, mostly rogue MNLF members, the military said.
The military also reported that 10,160 houses were set on fire during the fighting between government security forces and rogue MNLF elements in Zamboanga City.
Data released by the military showed that of the 128 confirmed killed, 12 were civilians, 11 soldiers, three policemen, and 102 MNLF gunmen.
Maj. Angelo Guzman, AFP deputy chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO), said these were the figures as of noon Sunday (Sept. 22). (Manila reports)