PETALING JAYA: Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari said it was possible that MNLF members were part of the self-styled Royal Sulu Army who had gone to Sabah.
However, he said they had done so without the permission or knowledge of the movement.
He said that when he had asked some of his “brothers” whether it was true that MNLF were with the group, the reply was that they might be as they also considered themselves soldiers and the security force of the Sultanate of Sulu.
“This means that when MNLF goes to war, they will be with us but when the Sultanate of Sulu embarks on a mission such as the incursion into Sabah, they will also go but without any permission from us,” Misuari said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Misuari said he was still trying to find out if one of MNLF’s former commanders was among the gunmen killed by security forces in Sabah.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar on Friday said one of the 31 gunmen killed was a leader of the invaders.
It is believed the man was a former MNLF commander known as Haji Musa, a former general of the Philippine army who had also served in Vietnam.
Misuari slammed Philippine President Benigno Aquino for claiming that outside parties were possibly involved in the incursion, saying there was no evidence of this.
On whether he had met any Malaysian Opposition leaders, he said he had meet with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim several months ago in Jakarta.
He said he requested for the meeting with Anwar to complain about Malaysia’s treatment of detained southern Philippine illegal immigrants, adding that no other matters were raised.
“He (Anwar) is the only fellow I know closely after my relations with Kuala Lumpur was estranged because of my arrest there,” said Misuari.
The former rebel leader was arrested in Sabah in 2001 and extradited to the Philippines on the request of the country.
Misuari, who still wields a degree of influence in the troubled southern Philippines, denied telling the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III that more gunmen who were no longer affiliated with the MNLF would come to the aid of the invaders.
He said what he told Jamalul during a press conference at the latter’s residence several days ago was that he would offer to help seek a meeting with Malaysian authorities to find a resolution to the crisis.
“But I don’t know whether a few more apart from those who are already involved in this incursion have weapons and are going in,” he said.