ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two powerful factions of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) reportedly engaged in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu at dawn Saturday, August 8, which resulted in the death of two fighters and the wounding of five others.
A report reaching this city this late Saturday night indicated that combatants operating under MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari attacked the MNLF anti-kidnaping and terrorism task force (MNLF-AKTF), organized by MNLF Chair Yusop Jikiri, located in the village of Silangkan in Parang, Sulu about 3 a.m. on Saturday.
Jikiri, on a mobile phone conversation Sunday, said the clashes resulted in the wounding of his two former MNLF combatants on their side.
It was also reported that the Misuari-faction allegedly suffered two fatalities and three wounded members during the encounter that lasted for an hour.
Jammih Basil, a resident of Silangkan said the Misuari-faction first attacked the camp of the MNLF-AKTF, under MNLF Commander Adjahil, a senior field commander of Jikiri.
The two factions immediately engaged in a showdown and exchange of automatic gunfire that sent most of the people in the village into panic.
According to reports, the clash between the two factions lasted for an hour before the Misuari-faction withdrew towards the inner forested areas of the village under the cover of darkness.
Jikiri said the Misuari-faction wanted to drive away the MNLF-AKTF it uncovered reports that the Misuari-faction was coddling some Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Parang, Sulu.
Jikiri also condemned the attack, saying ”it was uncalled for” with all of them belonging to one organization operating in the province.
“I hope brother Nur would be kind enough to investigate the incident and his combatants who attacked the MNLF-AKTF camp and reprimand them if found to have violated the code of conduct of any MNLF combatants,” Jikiri said.
Jikiri formed the MNLF-AKTF a few years ago to monitor the activities of the ASG in the province and to report their plans and activities to the military for proper action.