MNLF offers help in rescue

THE Moro National Liberation Front said it is willing to help rescue the three foreigners and Filipina who were kidnapped by still unidentified men in Samal Island last week, provided the government officially asks for its assistance.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said the group can help find the victims and their abductors if it is true that they are now in Sulu, the group’s primary stronghold.

“[But] we will not move to recover the victims unless authorities ask,” Cerveza said, noting that any action on their part may be misinterpreted by the government with whom they signed a peace agreement in 1996.

At least eleven armed men abducted Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Filipina only known as Marites from the Ocean View Resort Hotel in Samal Island at 11:30 p.m. Monday and taken to a still unknown destination.

The military launched search-and-rescue operation, but has so far failed to pinpoint the location of the armed group and their captives.

Cerveza said they do not want to intervene in the military operations “if there’s no request from the military,” adding that the important matter is to really determine the location of the kidnap victims.

MNLF commander Rolando Ulamet, based in Davao province, had earlier expressed willingness to find the victims and is now in Jolo trying to find out if the kidnappers and their victims really arrived in Parang, Sulu last Friday as reported.

Former government negotiator Jesus Dureza has also volunteered to help find vital information, but Cerveza asked Dureza to first identify who perpetrated the kidnapping because everyone is still facing blank wall.

“We are hearing several information that the victims are already in Sulu, but we considered it raw data,” Cerveza said.

The MNLF has many members in Davao City which they said is one of their controlled areas aside from Sulu and several locations in Maguindanao.


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