Philippine Troops and Muslim Rebels Clash in Zamboanga City

A stand-off between Philippine troops and Muslim rebels has continued for a second day, with reports of civilians being used as “human shields.”

BBC News
September 10, 2013


At least four people were killed in Monday’s violence in Zamboanga city in Mindanao, in the south of the country.

Clashes began when a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) moved into the city early on Monday.

Gunshots were heard in Zamboanga early on Tuesday, reports said, and residents had fled areas hit by fighting.

All classes have been suspended and flights to and from Zamboanga have been cancelled, the city government said.

Additional troops have also arrived in Zamboanga to support the hundreds already deployed in the unrest.


Peace talks

The MNLF members arrived by boat in the city early on Monday and had wanted to raise their flag above Zamboanga’s city hall, military officials said.

Nur Misuari founded the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1971, with the goal of fighting the Philippine state for an independent Islamic nation. The MNLF then signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996.

However, Nur Misuari has complained that his faction has been marginalised in a peace agreement currently being negotiated between the government and another insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Many factions have splintered from the MNLF, including the MILF. Nur Misuari has not commented on the violence. Journalists and government negotiators say they have been unable to reach him.



Addressing a press conference, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said security personnel had “stabilised the situation”.

“It has been contained and isolated, and won’t spread to other areas,” Mr Roxas said.

There have been conflicting reports on how many people are either trapped by the fighting or being held by the rebels.

In the latest update, Mr Roxas said that the rebels were using around 180 residents as “human shields”.

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