Troops recover 26 bodies of slain MNLF rebels involved in Zambo standoff

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (PNA) –- Government forces conducting clearing operations have recovered a total of 26 cadavers of slain Moro National Liberation Front rebels in the critical areas here.

The critical areas are the adjoining barangays of Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, and Rio Hondo, where fierce fighting ensued after hundreds of MNLF rebels infiltrated this city last Sept. 9.

This was revealed here Tuesday by Police Regional Office-9 information officer Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca, who said that the cadavers were recovered in separate locations in the barangays Sta. Catalina and Sta. Barbara.

Huesca said the cadavers were recovered since Sunday, the first day the government forces shifted to the clearing operations.

The clearing operations started Sunday a day after National Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin has declared the standoff was over.

Huesca said that nine of the 26 cadavers were recovered Sunday while the other 17 on Monday.

He said that the troops have also recovered 165 unexploded ordnance of various types like rifle grenades, hand grenades and 40 millimeter grenades since Sunday.

He said that a total of 130 structures were subjected to clearing operations in the critical areas.

He said clearing operations continues in a bid to ensure the safe return of the owners of the land and houses.