8 MNLF rebels surrender, 5 hostages rescued-A A +A
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebel commander and seven of his men surrendered, as government forces continued to press on the rebels involved in the standoff that entered its 16th day Tuesday.
At the same time, the government forces have safely recovered five hostages, who are all male adults.
The group of Basilan-based Commander Salip Ijal surrendered Tuesday morning in Ayer Village, Barangay Sta. Barbara.
Police Regional Office (PRO)-Zamboanga Peninsula Director Juanito Vaño said the rebels were placed under tactical interrogation.
Government forces continue to constrict the movement of rebels who are involved in the standoff, which started last September 9.
Armed Forces of the Philippines deputy public affairs chief Major Angelo Guzman said that based on their 6 p.m. update, 110 MNLF rebels have so far been killed.
He said 93 rebels were captured, while 45 surrendered.
On the side of government forces, 13 soldiers and five policemen were killed in the fighting, while 162 (148 soldiers, 14 police) were wounded in action.
Also among the fatalities were 12 civilians, while 51 were wounded.
Guzman said the number of hostages rescued is now at 182, adding that 78 high-powered and 15 low-powered firearms were recovered.
The standoff began when hundreds of MNLF rebels led by Habier Malik, a trusted aide of MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari, infiltrated the city. They planned to march to City Hall, where they intend to raise their flag to declare independence.
The military said that clearing operations are ongoing Tuesday evening. (PNA/Sunnex)