RealNews

Australian security experts meet with MNLF on JI presence in Mindanao

Australian security experts met with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leaders here yesterday to discuss the reported presence of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives in Central Mindanao and the prospects of President Arroyo’s peace overtures to the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Col. Chris Buma, Quinton Devlin, Miles Armitage and Australia’s assistant secretary for counterterrorism Andrew Goledzinowski were accompanied by US defense attaché Col. Terry Cook. MNLF secretary-general and Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema told the Australian officials his administration learned of the presence of JI operatives in Central Mindanao only after the arrests of several Indonesians in separate police and military operations here in 2003 and 2004. However, Sema said it was possible that JI operatives avoided roaming into areas where MNLF forces are scattered since the group signed a peace pact with the government back in 1996. Full Story

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