AFP tags 4 MNLF commanders with Malik
MANILA, Philipines — The Armed Forces identified 4 other Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commanders aside from Habier Malik as the ones leading operations in Zamboanga City.
Based on a presentation to President Benigno Aquino III, at least 180 MNLF troops are spread out in Barangay Sta Barbara, Sta Catalina, and Talon-Talon holding 163 hostages as of 8 am Tuesday, September 10.
AFP public affairs chief Lt Col Ramon Zagala, in a press briefing, maintained the MNLF troops are "contained" in these areas.
The government said it has "overwhelming" force in Zamboanga City but they are "standing down" to pave the way for the Crisis Management Committee to negotiate with the MNLF.
Along with the MNLF troops and hostages, however, are about 81,000 residents trapped inside the military blockade.
MNLF founder Nur Misuari's top aide Habier Malik was earlier sighted in Sta Barbara. The intelligence reports say he leads 80 to 90 MNLF troops and holds 20 hostages there.
A second commander positioned very close to Malik in Sta Barbara holds the biggest number of hostages — 87 residents. He leads 30 MNLF troops.
Malik and the second commander are the ones closest to the Zamboanga City Hall, where the MNLF wants to hoist its flag and declare independence from the government.
The 3 other MNLF commanders, based on the intelligence reports, are Commander Ugong, Commander Ustadz Asamin Hussein, and Commander Ismael Dasta.
Commander Ugong and Commander Ustadz Asamin Hussein are both in Barangay Talon-Talon. Commander Ugong leads 30 troops and holds 20 hostages. Commander Hussein leads 18 troops, but he doesn't hold a single hostage, based on the report.
Commander Ismael Dasta, on the other hand, leads 80 troops and holds 36 hostages, according to the report. — Rappler.com