Bad weather suspends troops’ clearing ops-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
ZAMBOANGA Peninsula police information officer Ariel Huesca announced Monday that the Task Group Suyud has temporarily suspended the clearing operations due to the inclement weather condition.
Huesca said this came about after Zamboanga City had been experiencing heavy downpour since Friday brought about by the Intertropical Convergence Zone.
The task group composed of police and military explosive ordnance demolition and Police Crime Laboratory personnel who are tasked to clear the “areas of concerns.”
The areas of concerns include the adjoining villages of Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, and Rio Hondo of explosives and cadavers.
Huesca said the task group was able to recover 280 exploded ordnance that included rifle grenades, hand grenades and caliber .40 millimeter rounds for grenade launcher, and 11 assorted high-powered firearms since Day One of the clearing operations.
The clearing operations started last September 29, a day after the standoff was declared over.
Huesca said the police crime laboratory personnel were able to recover and processed 156 cadavers since Day One of the crisis.
Huesca said that 45 of the 156 cadavers were recovered during the clearing operations alone.
Huesca said that 146 of the 156 recovered and processed cadavers are of slain Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels. Three of them were female rebels.
The remaining 10 cadavers were that of civilians including seven that were recovered in the critical areas, Huesca said.
He said the clearing operations will resume once the weather condition will normalize.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, who chairs the Crisis Management Committee, has allowed starting Monday the residents of Talon-Talon, Mampang, and Arena Blanco villages to return home.
“Residents from Barangay Arena Blanco, Barangay Mampang, and Barangay Talon-Talon may now go back to their places of origin, except those staying near the mangrove areas or whose houses were burned,” Salazar said in an advisory issued Monday.
Salazar specifically said the areas cleared can be reoccupied (point of reference: from downtown going to the village of Mampang) are from the main road within 50 meters in the village of Arena Blanco; right side of road within 100 meters in the village of Talon-Talon and from main road within 50 meters in Mampang village.
Salazar said that left side roads of all three villages are likewise cleared.
The entry to the three villages is through the Tetuan-Tugbungan-Talon-Talon Loop route only since the highway traversing the villages of Sta. Catalina and Kasanyangan is still closed to traffic.
Salazar has advised the officials of the three villages to remind their respective constituents to be wary and to report any sighting of foreign objects to nearest police or military outpost immediately.
Salazar also directed the village officials to facilitate the orderly return of the residents to their homes.
Hundreds of families from the three villages fled to safer grounds when hundreds of MNLF rebels infiltrated this city last September 9 that triggered a three-week standoff. (Bong Garcia)