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Malik unlikely to surrender – MNLF spokesman

September 27, 2013 1:24pm

Hopes of any sign of surrender from Moro National Liberation Front commander Habier Malik became bleaker as the bloody Zamboanga crisis reached its 19th day.
 
Reverend Absalom Cerveza, the MNLF spokesman for the Misuari faction, said on Friday morning on GMA's News to Go that he received a text message from Malik saying they are ready for whatever fate awaits them in Zamboanga City.

Cerveza, however, did not say when he received the said message.
 

 
 
“Pag-alis nila ng bahay to go to a jihad, to go to a war like this, they do not expect to come home alive,” Cerveza said.

“This might be the darkest episode in the history of the MNLF,” he added.
 
Malik also asked for prayers for their group, Cerveza said.
 
Cerveza fears more blood will be shed as he said the MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City are the “hardcore” fighters of the group who were willing to fight to the death with no payment.
 
The same report, however, said that some arrested MNLF fighters admitted they were promised P10,000 to join the rally in Zamboanga City.

Misuari's order to retreat
 
Meanwhile, Cerveza said MNLF founder Nur Misuari asked him to tell Malik to retreat from the battlegrounds of Zamboanga City.
 
He said Misuari told him to call Malik soonest and relay the order to stand down.
 
However, Cerveza said he wasn't able to contact Malik or any of the MNLF commanders currently fighting the military in Zamboanga City.
 
Misuari's move came two weeks after he disowned the actions of Malik's group, according to Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, who said she was able to talk with Misuari.
 
“Misuari disowned the actions of Habier Malik, the leader of the hostage-takers with whom I communicated separately,” Climaco said as quoted in a tweet of the Zamboanga City local government.
 
According to Cerveza, the MNLF wishes to continue talks with the government to maintain peace. The group is also ready to face charges that will be filed against it.
 
The Zamboanga crisis started on September 9 after MNLF forces engaged the military in a gunfight in Barangay Rio Hondo.
 
The crisis is now on its third week and has claimed at least 154 lives so far.

According to the military, there are an estimated 20 MNLF fighters remaining, including Malik. Andrei Medina/KG, GMA News

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