MNLF commander calls for ceasefire, says 2 hostages hurt

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A total of 35 people including 10 women, 2 boys and 23 males were taken as hostages by the Basilan based MNLF led by a certain Ustadz Ismael Dasta, a NASCOM MNLF commander on Monday. INQUIRER MINDANAO FILE PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — A Moro National Liberation Front commander and the hostages being held by the former rebel group have called for a ceasefire on Thursday afternoon, saying two civilian hostages have been injured during the fighting with government troops.

At around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Ustadz Ismael Dasta, commander of the MNLF forces from Basilan, called up the Philippine Daily Inquirer asking to relay his demand of a ceasefire because two hostages were hurt.

He identified one of the wounded hostages as Clemente Almonte.

Hostage Pastor David Nifras, who also spoke with the Inquirer by phone, said Father Michael Ufana was also injured.

“We are seeking help. Tell the government that we need a ceasefire. Many are injured but two are in critical condition. We are trapped in a place where there is fire and gunfire. Please help us relay to this to the government. We are about 40 people here,” Nifras said.

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