Gov't forces retake 80% of MNLF-held areas in Zamboanga City

September 18, 2013 10:10 am 

MANILA, Sept. 18 — Government security forces have retaken 80 percent of the areas earlier controlled by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters.

This was announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director for operations, Deputy Director Felipe Rojas, Jr., as the standoff entered its 10th day Wednesday.

"If we're talking percentages, we estimate MNLF presence in only about 20 percent. Most of the MNLF had either surrendered or had been killed," he said in a radio interview.

Rojas, however, did not identified the areas still held by the rebels.

The standoff started last Sept. 9 when the MNLF took civilian hostages and holed up in several parts of the city.

But in past days, several hostages had been either freed or managed to escape, while the government implemented a calibrated response to the MNLF.

Rojas said they are just focusing on one area where shots were heard, though not as frequently in past days.

He also said that the PNP is now starting its clearing operations with search efforts focused on improvised explosive devices. (PNA)

JBP/PFN

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