The Moro National Liberation Front [MNLF] that has forged a pro autonomy peace settlement with the Philippine government in 1996 has elected former rebel leader Nur Misuari as its new chairman, following the dissolution of a 15-man council that took over the group in 2001.
"Nur Misuari is indispensable in the search for peace in Mindanao and it is also the clamour of the Muslim people that he leads the MNLF again," said Muslimen Sema, the secretary general of the MNLF and the mayor of Cotabato City.
Efforts are now underway to reorganise the MNLF, said Sema, adding the MNLF Central Committee agreed to dissolve the Council of 15 and for Misuari to take over again and work for the unification of tens of thousands of members across the southern Philippines.
The MNLF would also consult with the influential Organisation of Islamic Conference [OIC] in which the MNLF has a permanent observer status, said Sema.
"The first thing we will do now is to put the MNLF as one organisation and ... get our acts together and search for peace," he said.
The decision to bring back Misuari was the result of a series of meetings and consultation since 2004.