Zambo evacuee loses her mind, says village chief
MANILA – A female evacuee in one of the coastal villages hit by conflict in Zamboanga City is beginning to lose her mind due to stress and trauma, a village official said on Sunday.
Barangay Rio Hondo Chairman Rozdy Mukaram said a woman appeared to be losing her mind and was already on the verge of committing suicide after learning that her house was among those razed during the week-old standoff between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels.
"May nasisiraan na po ng bait kasi nasunog ang bahay niya… At siguro sa gutom din at sa takot. May mga anak po siya," Mukaram told DZMM, without naming the woman.
"Nandito po yung babae, hinahawakan kasi parang tatalon sa dagat."
Mukaram said several residents remain trapped in an ice plant in Rio Hondo, and one of the options the military is considering is evacuating them via sea as leaving the area via land is dangerous.
"Sa dagat muna padadaanin namin, nanghihingi ang Army ng clearance sa Philippine Coast Guard para di maano yung mga tao, hindi mapagkamalang bandido."
Philippine troops were closing in on Muslim rebel positions and cutting off escape routes on Sunday to end a week-long standoff that has left more than 60 people dead in the southern city of Zamboanga, officials said.
Day and night operations by at least 3,000 elite government troops have now seen 51 MNLF rebels killed, as well as six soldiers, a policemen and four civilians.
Air and sea ports remained closed on Sunday in a crisis that has paralyzed the city of one million, seen entire neigborhoods razed to the ground, and forced tens of thousands to flee.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said the number of people who had fled to temporary shelters had risen to more than 69,000 by Sunday morning.
The MNLF fighters linked to the faction of Misuari, the group's founding chairman, laid siege in the southern Mindanao city as the government was on the final stage of the finalizing its peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Misuari felt left out by the deal, saying the government seemed to have abandoned the previous peace deal it forged with the MNLF in 1996. – with Agence France-Presse