MNLF-ASG Clash Rages; 54 Killed - Mudjahib

Article excerpt

JOLO, Sulu - One of the top leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said at noon on Monday that 54 have been killed in raging gunbattles in Patikul, Sulu, between MNLF rebels and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Habib Mudjahib, chair of the Islamic Command Council of the MNLF, said 23 fighters on its side have been killed since fighting with the bandits broke out hours after two TV news crew members were released by the ASG on Saturday night.

Mudjahib said 31 bandits belonging to the ASG have also been killed by MNLF forces as of noon Monday.

Mudjahib said among the fatalities on the MNLF side since the fighting erupted in the mountain village of Barangay Buhanginan on Sunday morning was MNLF leader "Rizal."

He also said that seven among the MNLF fighters killed were beheaded by the ASG.

A senior field of the MNLF said former MNLF commander Ustadz Habier Malik is already fed up with the "un-Islamic acts of the ASG" in the province and that the bandits should be "eliminated in the soonest possible time" to make Sulu truly peaceful. …