Gov’t seeks probe into MNLF ammunition supply
MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said authorities were investigating how members of the Moro National Liberation Front continue to have ammunition as the fight with government troops entered its second week.
In a televised press conference, Roxas said President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the intelligence community look into this and said that a deeper investigation would be conducted when the firefight ends.
“There will be a deeper and wider investigation as to why they don’t seem to run out of bullets,” said Roxas in Filipino.
The standoff started September 9 when government troops foiled an attempt by the Moro gunmen to march and raise their flag at Zamboanga’s city hall.
Instead the firefighters entered several villages and took over a hundred hostages.
As operations continue, authorities have yet to account for at least 20 civilians who were taken as “human shields.”
Meanwhile, as to why the rebels didn’t seem to starve despite the prolonged fighting, Roxas quoted the freed hostages as saying that they survived on supplies taken from abandoned homes.
“Homes that they would pass by . . . whatever canned goods were available, sacks of rice . . . they gather and eat,” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, Roxas said 94 Moro gunmen were now under the custody of the government.
Roxas said he was advised not to talk to the surrenderees but that they were coordinating with Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to have them moved to a Bureau of Corrections facility.
The plan, Roxas said, was to move minimum risk prisoners to the Zamboanga Police Office, while the MNLF members would be transferred to the San Ramon Penal Facility also in Zamboanga City.
“All of them will be moved. There will be a security operation for movement. Hindi namin sasabihin kung ano yung detalyeng ito pero ililipat sila doon in the near future,” Roxas said.
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