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MILF offers assistance to help free Australian

THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front has offered help in negotiating for the immediate release of a 53-year-old Australian adventurer who was kidnapped by armed men recently and turned him over to the Abu Sayyaf Group based in Basilan. In an article posted in the Luwaran website, Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF peace panel secretariat, confirmed that Warren Rodwell was currently held captive by the ASG sub-leader Furuji Indama. Indama and his men were among the armed men who joined some 300 Moro rebels led by Long Malat and Dan Laksaw Asnawi, commander and deputy commander of the MILF 114th Base Command, respectively, who waylaid close to 100 Army Special Forces troops on Oct. 18, 2001 in a day-long firefight that killed 19 soldiers and injured 14 others. The government troops were in Sitio Bakisung, Barangay Cambug, Al-Barka to serve arrest warrants against the three leaders when ambushed. Despite government demand, the MILF leadership refused to surrender Malat and Asnawi. Rodwell is married to Filipina Miraflor Gutang, 27. He was abducted by armed men on Dec. 5 at a resort in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. Mantawil said Mohagher Iqbal, head of the MILF negotiating panel, also instructed lawyer Abdul Dataya, head of the MILF-Adhoc Joint Action Group, to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-AHJAG. He said some 2,000 soldiers were deployed in Basilan where Indama’s group was keeping the foreigner.
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