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UN, OIC intervention sought to end Zamboanga crisis

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In this file photo, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari reads his speech during the 17th Grand Summit in Davao City. Hundreds of MNLF rebels staged an alledge siege of Zamboanga towns on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Photo by Ruby Thursday More

DAVAO CITY – The United Nations (UN) and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) need to intervene to resolve the on-going crisis in Zamboanga City, said Atty. Emmanuel Fontanilla, spokesperson of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) – Misuari faction.

In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Fontanilla claimed his group was the party harassed, adding that if the other side didn’t meddle with their affairs the fighting would not have happened.

He also maintained that they are still in the defensive position and denied reports that his group is trying to siege the city hall of Zambonga to raise an MNLF flag.

“We were planning for a peace rally there, unfortunately no permit was given to us”, he clarified.

He said that under the law, people have the right to gather and express their sentiments and carrying of a flag is not illegal.

“We have been using that MNLF flag for a long time”, he stressed.

Fontanilla also denied earlier reports that he publicly declared that Misuari is the president of the Philippines.

“What I said was that Misuari is the president of Bangsamoro Republik”, he added.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco has convened the city’s peace and order council to assess the situation of the civilians and find solutions to the present crisis.

In an interview over government TV station PTV 4, Mayor Climaco confirmed that about five villages have been breached by MNLF forces.

The port of Zamboanga is currently closed with its gate barricaded with container vans. Government facilities and bus terminals are being secured by members of Task Force Zamboanga, authorities said.

The Zamboanga Bankers Association has also announced that no banks will open today due to security reasons.