MANILA, (PNA) -– Several high-powered firearms have been recovered by government security forces from neutralized members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction of Nur Misuari during calibrated action since Friday.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, during a press conference monitored live on television, said the recovery of high-powered firearms clearly indicated that the MNLF supporters of Misuari were not out to march peacefully in Zamboanga City.
Among the firearms seized from members of the MNLF Misuari faction were 17 high-powered firearms, to include .50mm Barret sniper rifle which is capable of hitting target up to more than 1 km and .60mm mortar, and seven low-powered guns.
The said firearms were recovered either from those who surrendered or captured and those who were killed during firefight.
”So, these are clear indications that they did not come here in peace,” said Roxas.
The DILG chief also said that since the MNLF infiltration of five Zamboanga City barangays started Sept. 9, there had been 11 fires recorded in the area, specifically in barangays Sta. Barbara and Sta. Catalina, where clashes have been intense during the past two days.
According to Roxas, at least 850 residential structures went up in smoke during the blaze.
He noted that personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection were subjected to sniper fires while trying to respond to the fire incidents.
It was not clear, however, whether the fire incidents were intentionally perpetrated by the MNLF forces.
The DILG chief reiterated that the government is doing everything to resolve the issue peacefully, citing the priority remains the safety of the hostages and government security forces.