After the war - Phillipines

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July 1997
A historic report profiling Mindanao's most prominent guerrilla leader-turned-politician.

Nur Misuari, is finding peace as tricky as the war between the Muslim minority and the government that he helped end. Skilfully showing off an M16, Misuari is failing to woo voters outside the autonomous Muslim region he controls. The island's 85% Christian majority remains deeply suspicious. Even in his capital, Cotabato, crime is spiralling. Antonette Lu tries in vain to hold back tears. Her father Fernando is her third family member to be kidnapped. Worryingly, many of Misuari's former guerrillas are defecting to the extremist Muslim MILF. At a remote jungle camp, Abu Bakar, MILF military commander Hadj Morad boasts his army's strength. The MILF has its own courts and even a firing squad. Prisoners peer out of wooden barracks awaiting trial by Islamic law. In General Santos, Muslims such as Laila Matabalao vow they'd die rather than see their mosque demolished for a 5 star hotel. If Misuari fails them they'll vote for someone else. Misuari's difficulties echo those of his island in the Philippines, scarred by decades of war.
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Frank Kitman