Zamboanga City – Early this morning, one soldier was reported killed as bursts of gun and mortar fire wrecked Zamboanga City again on its 11th day crisis amidst Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and government troops’ thick fight.
The report was confirmed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala Thrusday morning.
However, Zagala refused to give additional information about the killed soldier.
The mortifying sound of the armed confrontation were heard in Barangay Sta. Catalina and Sta. Barbara. Reports also said that gunfires would occasionally stop but resume after few moments.
Barangay Sta. Catalina was one of MNLF’s hide outs but as of the moment, it was retaken by the government troops.
Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., Philippine National Police deputy director for operations, said on Wednesday that they had already retaken 80 percent of the MNLF controlled areas in the city. He also said that house-to-house clearing operations are ongoing.
Authorities believed that there are around 50 to 60 MNLF who are still hiding in the said barangays.
AFP also reported that as of Wednesday noon, the number of casualties exceeded 100. Fatalities included 83 RMEs or Rogue MNLF Elements, 11 soldiers, three policemen, and seven civilians, or a total of 104 dead.
It said that from the RME side, nine were also wounded while 93 were captured or had surrendered.
From the ranks of the AFP, 105 were wounded, and at least 12 policemen and 67 civilians were wounded as well.
The intense firefight with the MNLF in Zamboanga City has been in a critical stage since September 9.
Jonah Marie T. Rosal
ABCom/ Leyte Normal University