2 priests among trapped in Zamboanga standoff

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013


TWO priests are literally at the heart of the Zamboanga City crisis as they are among those trapped inside the cordoned areas occupied by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

In a radio interview, Archdiocese of Zamboanga Administrator Msgr. Crisologo Manongas disclosed that two priests in the diocese are among those unidentified number of hostages in the city.

"There are two priests there who were trapped. Kasama nila ang mga evacuees. Hindi sila makalabas ng simbahan," related Manongas over Church-run Radio Veritas.

He added that they have repeatedly tried but failed to rescue the priests along with some other evacuees.

"I am having a difficulty on how to penetrate the place because it's cordoned. We are not allowed to come inside and it is also very dangerous because the fighting is beside the church," said Manongas.

He said they are now relying on state authorities to safely rescue their colleagues.

"We are praying. That's all we can do right now because we have to leave the rest to the authorities. We don’t have the force. We rely on the authorities to do something," said Manongas.

On Monday, hundreds of MNLF forces occupied at least five villages in Zamboanga City and have remained with hostages numbering at an estimated 180 civilians.

The forces identified with former MNLF chairman Nur Misuari reportedly aim to hoist their flag at the Zamboanga City Hall to symbolize their declaration of independence for Mindanao.

Despite this, the Church official said they will just continue with what they are doing to help the affected people in Zamboanga City.

"We are helping here. We are not afraid. We are coordinating with our social action center and they are working very hard. We are even putting our lives in danger just to be able to help these people," said Manongas. (HDT/Sunnex)

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