ZAMBOANGA CITY – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairperson Yusop Jikiri died on Saturday night from a bone ailment in his residence in Pasil, Indanan, Sulu. He was 69 years old.
Jikiri was born, and took his Bachelor of Science in Education at a local college in Jolo, Sulu.
Jikiri was a soft spoken person but firm in his decision, and was a former governor and congressman of Sulu before he became the chairperson of the MNLF.
Abuambri Taddik, one of Jikiri’s trusted senior staff, and most of the senior leaders of the MNLF called him their “greatest leader.”
He rose from the ranks and obtained his warfare training abroad, according to Taddik, who now heads the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the BARMM Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) said Jikiri was the former Chief of Staff of the MNLF’s Bangsamoro Army, and, during the dark years of martial law, he led his forces in defending Muslim communities.
He has also served the BARMM people in different capacities in the government service.
He was responsible for organizing the MNLF Anti-Kidnapping and Terrorism Task Force, which is now helping the military in the prevention of kidnapping in BARMM.
Sinarimbo said he also had the honor of working with him when he served as Executive Secretary of the then ARMM after the Maguindanao massacre.
“I facilitated the continued implementation of some of his projects even after the end of his term as congressman,” Sinarimbo said.
“We also worked together during the Tripartite Review of the implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement,” he added.