MANILA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Leader of Philippine rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Habier Malik has reportedly died of "complication" from bullet wounds he sustained during the Zamboanga City siege with Philippine government forces, a military official said on Tuesday.
Jose Cenabre, commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade in southern province of Sulu, said Malik managed to escape the military operation in Zamboanga City to quell the siege mounted hundreds of MNLF fighters led by Malik on Sept. 9 last year.
Cenabre said Malik, who was reported to be suffering from diabetes, was able to flee to Sulu though "badly wounded." Malik was last sighted in Kalingalan Caluang town.
"That's generally his area but as I mentioned he was so badly wounded and he wasn't able to receive proper medical attention," he said.
Cenabre said, "We are still trying to validate the information on his death."
Another source, a military official speaking on condition of anonymity, said Malik was able to flee from Zamboanga City aboard a pumpboat. The source said his injuries in the fighting didn't heal, leading to his death in Talipao town Malik's birth place.
MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza also said on Jan. 3 that Malik died about three weeks ago from wounds he sustained in the arm and leg at the final stage of the Zamboanga city siege.
The MNLF, founded by former university professor Nur Misuari in the early l970s, is the forerunner of the MILF. Misuari's signing of a peace agreement with the government in l996 prompted the present leaders of the MILF to form their own group.