Detained Moro leader Nur Misuari affirmed he is still the official chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which had forged a pro-autonomy peace settlement with the government in 1996.

Two other leaders out of the three other MNLF factions aired the same sentiment in an interview with Gulf News. "I'm still on top of the situation," said Misuari in a telephone interview at his detention cell in Laguna, southern Luzon.

Misuari explained that Alvarez Isnaji, who claimed to have been elected as MNLF chairman in Zamboanga City on April 4, was the handiwork of the military and some groups that want to create confusion within MNLF and the whole Bangsamoro people.

The MNLF Central Committee which elected Isnaji as chair "does not really represent the MNLF central committee", explained MNLF lawyer Randolf Parcasio.

Many believe that in the meeting, Isnaji virtually created another MNLF faction which has been identified as the (other) MNLF-Central Committee (MNLF-CC). Isnaji comes from a small faction of the MNLF and as such he does not carry the whole MNLF and represent Bangsamoro people.

"I doubt very much if he and his group will be recognised both by the OIC and the Moro people," said Mujahib Hashim, Office of Muslim Affairs Executive Director, who is also chairman of another MNLF faction, called MNLF Islamic Command Council (ICC).

There are currently four MNLF groups. One is the MNLF-Misuari group, headed by Misuari. The MNLF-ICC under Hashim was first to split from the MNLF, and organised in 1997.

The other faction, the MNLF-Executive Council (MNLF-EC) was formerly under the Council of 15, which ousted Misuari as MNLF Chairman in April 2001. The Council of 15 was then led by Parouk Hussin, now governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Hatimil Hassan was elected by the Council of 15 as vice chairman. When the Council dissolved the Council of 15, they formed the MNLF-EC and Hasan became the chairman of the MNLF-EC.