A faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) had allegedly tapped members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to conduct bomb attacks in Mindanao in their bid to sabotage the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Peace activist Jun Aparece, quoting a “reliable source in the MNLF”, on Wednesday said that the recent bombings in Mindanao were ordered by leaders of the MNLF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to derail the peace process.
He said the MNLF, BIFF and ASG were the three groups President Benigno Aquino 3rd was referring to when he earlier confirmed reports that there was a deliberate plot to disrupt the peace negotiations in Mindanao.
“The recent bombings are the handiwork of those who oppose the MILF peace talks,” Aparece said.
“We learned that several ASG members joined MNLF. These ASG members could be utilized by this MNLF faction to execute the bombings and discredit [and]frustrate the MILF peace talks which is gaining positive strides,” he added.
He identified two terrorist-turned-witnesses who participated in the recent attacks as Robin Sahiyal and Jul Ahmad Ahadi, who were previously detained on suspicion of being high-value ASG members.
The two were released in February upon the recommendation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for mistaken identity and lack of probable cause.
Besides Sahiyal and Ahadi, there were 16 others who were released after the DOJ dropped the criminal charges against them.
The two witnesses testified a month later against human rights advocate Cocoy Tulawie, tagging him as the alleged mastermind in the 2009 assassination attempt on Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan.
The source said Sahiyal and Ahadi are now active members of the MNLF faction, along with other ASG members, and are currently operating in areas near Marawi City.