Roxas: Troops contain rebels’ movement amid Zambo crisis

By: Teofilo P. Garcia, Jr.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (PNA) -– Local Government secretary Manuel Roxas, II, announced Wednesday that the “Misuari-faction” Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels were contained in a particular place by the government forces.

This as Roxas said the government forces backed by troops from the Mechanized Battalion have taken a hard “demarcation line” to prevent the rebels from spilling over to the other parts of this city.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, who chairs the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), disclosed the troops have dislodged the rebels from their positions at the compound of the Mosque in Barangay Sta. Barbara, 0.35 kilometers east of City Hall.

“As a result of the operations, the area was cleared,” Salazar said, noting that MNLF snipers were earlier positioned at the Mosque.

Reports as of Wednesday revealed the rebels were already within the boundary of Sta. Barbara and Barangay Rio Hondo where sporadic fighting continued.

Roxas disclosed at the press briefing that five people, including a civilian, were killed in the hostilities.

Two of them were policemen while the other two were soldiers.

Roxas said that 36 others–three policemen, 12 soldiers, 21 civilians–were wounded.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that more troops have arrived here to fight the rebels.

The hostilities started early Monday when Misuari-faction MNLF rebels coming from the provinces of Basilan and Sulu landed on the shores of this city.