• The AFP rejected Nur Misuari’s request to supend the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf
• MNLF leader Misuari is negotiating with the bandits for the release of its hostages
• President Duterte has given full authority to Misuari to negotiate with Abu Sayyaf

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has turned down Nur Misuari’s request that the military suspend its operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group while the latter negotiates with the bandits for the release of the terror group’s remaining hostages.

Misuari, the leader of the Moro National Liberaion Front (MNLF), was earlier given full authority by President Rodrigo Duterte to negotiate with the Abu Sayyaf Group. The Muslim separatist leader assured the President that he would succeed in negotiating with the terror group, but would need time.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said it is imperative that the military continues its operation even while Misuari is negotiating with the Abu Sayyaf.

“Hindi po tayo pumayag. Importante na tuloy ang operasyon. Nangyari na dati na ang hiling na ‘yan ay nagiging ugat ng pagtakas,” Padilla said.

[We did not accede (to Misuari’s request). It’s important that the operation continues. That kind of request had happened before and it resulted to escape (of bandits).]

As mentioned in GMA News Online, Padilla said the AFP will not withdraw its forces in Sulu, but will give way if there are turnovers or transfers of hostages to authorities.

Padilla said a total of seven hostages, including Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad, were released by the Abu Sayyaf following the intensified campaign of the military against the terror group.