By Ali Macabalang
MARAWI CITY – The raging strife, which has already left close to 400 fatalities, over 230,000 people displaced and significant socio-economic havoc here, should give the government impetus to address the Bangsamoro question, as young Muslims dismayed with state peace efforts have apparently turned to violent extremism, according to Muslim leaders.
Peaceful approaches to end the more than one month of fighting in this city were tackled at an emergency meeting in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday by organized leaders of 23 ulama or religious groups, whose appeal for ceasefire was heeded by the military — for even 8 hours — for the safe celebration of Sunday’s Eid’l Fitr feast here.
In a Facebook post written in Maranao dialect Monday night, the ulama leaders led by Alim Amerodden Sarangani said the “humanitarian truce” on Sunday paved the way for them to reach out to radical Dawla Islamiya leaders and for the release of five Christian hostages, alongside the corpse of 72-year old Muslim man (who died of hunger and stress), from the militants.
They expressed “high hope” that the militants would heed the religious pleading for them to pull out from here. The Dawla Islamiya had set a condition for their withdrawal and release of some 100 more captives, including Fr. Chito Suganob.
“By the grace of God, we have high hope that with the support of Muslim government officials, the message of the militant group will be able to reach the President and draw possible action. Let’s pray more that our intervention will continue to sway the militants,” they said.
“Let us set aside politics here, we need to work as one voice. We need to convince them (the militants) and President Duterte not to drag our suffering for too long. We can end this soon,” an outspoken supporter of the Umala groups, Dreza Lininding said in the related post.
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