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Rebel unification 'impossible,' says leader

Murad says groups should stay separate but work for common aim

Rebel unification 'impossible,' says leader
MILF chairman Al Haj Murad
Keith Bacongco, Maguindanao

October 29, 2012

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It is impossible to unify pro-autonomy factions in Mindanao even after the signing of a peace agreement with the government, said the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF.) Instead of unifying, MILF and its rival Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) should move forward in parallel, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF chairman, told over the weekend. Murad appealed to all Moro factions in Mindanao to help implement the framework agreement signed by the MILF and the government on October 15. The agreement will facilitate the establishment of a new political entity in the region called Bangsamoro or Moro nation. Murad said a coordinating mechanism has already been set up to allow Moro rebel groups to discuss amongst themselves how to move forward. He said MILF has been holding dialogues with the different factions of the MNLF, but he added that unification is no longer practical because MILF has a "very stable and comprehensive structure in place." The MNLF signed its own peace agreement with the government in 1997, which has since been invalidated by the courts. MNLF leaders have warned that the new agreement is a violation of the 1997 agreement and may lead to unrest. Ekemelddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, earlier this year urged Moro rebel groups to work together. He told MILF leaders during a meeting last July that because the peace processes of the MILF and MNLF revolve around the same problem and the same territory, "the process of coordination between the two fronts has become of utmost necessity." Related reports Government and rebels ink landmark deal Peace deal opens doors for unrest, group warns
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