100 alleged members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were purportedly responsible in breaking into coastal villages in Zamboanga City on Monday, Sept 9. The attack resulted to casualties, hostages and truckloads of people being evacuated into safe places. As of 3am, Sep 10, Tuesday, Mayor Beng Climaco said that the police reported approximately 30 armed MNLF tagging along civilians as human shields against the police.
"Per report from the police, at 3am today, some 30 armed MNLF tagging along civilians as human shields from Mampang were monitored proceeding to Sta. Catalina to support their comrades. However, they were blocked by police and TFZ personnel manning checkpoints in the area," Ms Climaco said.
However, there were also reports of hostages already taken out of Zamboanga City and into coastal towns. The local government was still awaiting confirmation. Ms Climaco also said that the local government had opened all communication lines with the armed group through a volunteer negotiator.
In the wake of the attack that happened on Monday, Ms Climaco released an official statement, Sept 9, at 7:05 pm, informing all residents about the imposition of curfew in the region.
"With the current situation in the City, we are declaring the imposition of curfew in Zamboanga City starting 8 o'clock tonight to 5 am. This is with authority from the City Council which met on a special session just this afternoon.
With the curfew, only people working directly in managing the situation will be permitted to go around the city including those in the medical profession and working for evacuation and distribution of relief goods. Others who will be out on the streets will be invited for interrogation."
The statement also detailed the number of casualties and hostages.
"As of now, per record from the City Social Welfare Office, there are 174 families with 1,099 individuals housed at Tetuan Parish, 50 families with 200 individuals at Tetuan Central School, 25 families with 115 individuals at ICAS-tetuan, 231 families with 1,071 individuals at the grandstand as of 3:30pm today.
Casualties remain at 4 killed and 14 wounded. Number of hostages, per ZCPO report is 87 in Kasanyangan, 20 in Sta. Catalina mosque, 20 in Talon-talon mosque, 10 in Camacop Sta. Barbara, undetermined number at SDK building in Sta Catalina, undetermined number at Fernandez store in Lustre."
See photos here:
families were evacuated after MNLF groups infiltrated coastal towns in Zamboanga
People line up at evacuation centers
Kiko Miranda, a volunteer attending to the people being evacuated, told IBTimes that sporadic firing and an explosion had happened again at about 6am Tuesday. Mr Miranda said that truckloads of evacuees are still arriving at the evacuation since Monday. He said that aside from food and water, people need the following:
- Sanitary Napkins for Females
- Slippers for Children
- Water Containers
- Mats, cartons, used tarpaulins (for alternative sleeping mats)
- Milk for Babies in the Evacuation Sites
Meanwhile, a locale of Zamboanga who refused to be named, told IBTimes that in the whole of Zamboanga, her town was the safest. She said that according to intelligence reports, the families of the MNLF were residing in their town. Hence, the MNLFs were doing all precautionary means not to put the lives of their own families in danger.
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