Death toll in Zambo fighting up to 87—military




09:11 AM September 17th, 2013

By: Frances Mangosing, September 17th, 2013 09:11 AM

Philippine Army soldiers fire a 60mm mortar towards the position of MNLF loyal to Misuari where they camp out with their hostages in Barangay Sta. Barbara in Zamboanga City. EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA,  Philippines — The number of casualties continues to rise as the gunbattle between government forces and members of Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City entered its second week.

As of Monday night, the Armed Forces of the Philippines recorded 87 deaths from the fighting. There were six killed from AFP, three from police, seven civilians and 71 MNLF members.

There were 86 soldiers, 12 police and 39 civilians injured while the MNLF had nine.

Sixyt-four from the MNLF were either arrested or had surrendered.

A report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said that at least 82,000 persons have been displaced from the fighting since Monday night. They were housed in several shelters.

The local government implemented forced evacuation in villages affected by the fighting last week.

The ongoing crisis shut down seaports and airports, closed banks and businesses. Hundreds of homes had been destroyed since the start of the conflict due to gunfires and fire incidents.

The MNLF started their attack on September 9, as they tried to raise their flag in city hall. It was believed to have been led by the faction of MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari, who disagrees with the latest peace deal the government is finalizing.

On the ground, the attack is led by Habier Malik, a known follower of Misuari.

Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala on Monday said they have recaptured 70 percent of areas occupied by the MNLF since their offensive started last Friday. They were still engaging with about a hundred MNLF members.

The military also launched “precision” airstrikes for the first time after eight days of fighting at MNLF-occupied areas on Monday.

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