A top commander of the Moro National Liberation Front-Nur Misuari faction who led the three-week siege in Zamboanga City reportedly died from two bullets wounds during the final stage of the stand-off even as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) had resumed attacks against military detachments in Central Mindanao.
MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza disclosed that Haber Malik, Misuari’s most trusted commander, succumbed from bullet wounds at his arm pit and leg from a still unknown caliber in the group’s hideout in a forested area somewhere in Jolo, Sulu three weeks ago.
“Commander Malik died recently due to wounds at his arm pit and leg he sustained from the skirmishes while fighting with lawmen in Zamboanga City,” Cerveza said.
He said Malik had actually survived the Zamboanga City clashes despite the intense volley of gunfire from security forces, but his wounds had not healed because of his diabetes.
At the height of the skirmishes between the MNLF and security forces, Malik was reportedly among those killed in the clashes, but Cerveza denied the report and had said that Malik was able to escape,
Cerveza said he did not know the exact date of Malik’s death and the site where the body was buried.
“What I know is that he was buried somewhere in the jungles in Jolo, three weeks ago,” Cerveza said.
Malik, along with a group of heavily-armed MNLF rebels stormed Zamboanga City Hall at dawn of September 9 last year and spread to at least six villages where they held hundreds of innocent civilians as shield against the advancing government forces.
More than two hundred people, including twenty from the government side and twelve civilians were killed, while 177 others were wounded during the standoff, which was triggered by the declaration of independence of Mindanao by Misuari’s group.
Misuari decided to claim independence for Mindano after the government abrogated the tripartite review talks with the MNLF on the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement of 1976.
Meanwhile, Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the BIFF attacks on military detachments wounded a soldier.
Hermoso said that on Tuesday, Dec. 31, at around 10:30 p.m., BIFF elements attacked the 7th Infantry Battalion and the 5th Special Forces Battalion detachments in Bgy. Saido Polangi in Pikit, North Cotabato.
“The BIFF elements positioned themselves in Barangay Dasawao of Datu Piang, Maguindanao, in between the Maguindanao river. This harassment against our troops continued up until the morning of January 1,” he said. With Florante Solmerin
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