Saturday, September 14, 2013



No ceasefire – Gazmin

Truce Talks Fail; Death Toll Rises To 53 As Fighting Continues


There’s no ceasefire in war-torn Zamboanga City.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin stated this yesterday amid renewed fighting between government security forces and rogue Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members.
Late Friday night, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay announced on television that the Defense chief and MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari had agreed to negotiate a ceasefire between government and rebel forces.

With the renewed fighting, the death toll in the Zamboanga crisis, which entered its sixth day yesterday, climbed to 53, with at least 70 wounded.
The number of displaced residents, on the other hand, rose to more than 60,000.

ESCAPE FROM ZAMBOANGA — A soldier secures the tarmac at the Mactan Benito Ebuen Airbase in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, on Friday as Muslim pilgrims bound for Mecca and a number of people stranded in Zamboanga City since the beginning of the siege arrive in a C-130 provided by the military. (Cheryl Baldicantos)


Based on data released by the AFP, the number of casualties from the ongoing Zamboanga crisis is now 123, with 53 dead mostly MNLF fighters, and 70 wounded. Among the 53 fatalities, the AFP said three were soldiers, three policemen, four civilians, and 43 MNLF rebels. On the other hand, 35 soldiers, six policemen, 20 civilians, and nine rogue MNLF elements have so far been wounded in the on-going skirmishes that started before dawn on Monday.


View ZAMBOANGA BATTLEFIELD in a larger map


(CNN) -- Sporadic and intermittent gunfire rang out in Zamboanga City for a fourth day on Thursday as armed forces continued to clash with Muslim Moro National Liberation Front rebels holding as many as 180 hostages on the Philippine island of Mindanao.

 Almost 13,000 people have been evacuated from the districts of Talon-Talon, Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, Kasanyangan, Canela and Mampang in Zamboanga, government sources said.

Zamboanga's mayor, Isabelle Climaco Salazar, told a press briefing that she had been in direct contact with the head of the MNLF rebels, Nur Misuari, and the leader of the hostage takers, Habier Malik.
"Last night I was able to talk to Chairman Nur Misuari hoping that it would pave the way for the peaceful end of this crisis," Climaco said. "What is of interest is that Misuari disowned the actions of Habier Malik, the leader of the hostage-takers with whom I communicated separately."

 The MNLF, a separatist movement founded in 1971 by Nur Misuari with the aim of establishing an autonomous region for Muslims in this mainly Catholic country, signed a peace deal with the central government in Manila in 1996, though some of its members have broken away to continue a violent campaign.