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Missionary Jesuits in danger after false charges

A series of false accusations is threatening to unleash the anger of the Islamic Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) against the Jesuits on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

The Jesuits are accused of being behind the recent ousting of MNLF chief Nur Misuari.

Misuari accused the presidential Adviser on Special Concerns, Norberto Gonzales, of influencing the officials who sacked him, with the support of the Jesuit missionaries.

"Such an irresponsible accusation could have many bad effects on the work of the Jesuits in Mindanao", Jesuit Provincial Fr Romeo Intengan told Fides. "If Misuari and the group supporting him made the anti-Jesuit statement perhaps because they received inaccurate reports from their sources, they should retract those statements."

Fr Intengan recalled that Jesuit institutions have been supportive of the MNLF's position since 1986 and in particular during the peace negotiations between the Philippines government and the group.

An MNLF statement affirms that during an April meeting in Manila, Gonzales, helped by the Jesuits in Mindanao, prepared a resolution removing Misuari from the MNLF chair with the intention of dismantling unity and struggle of the Bangsa Moro for their homeland and religion.