5 MNLF rebels killed on 13th day of Zambo seige
MANILA – Five more fighters from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were killed by government troops as the standoff in Zamboanga City entered its 13th day on Saturday morning.
"Ang tala natin sa kalaban lima po ang patay sa kanila," said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Zagala said their troops are making significant gains in their operations despite having two more soldiers wounded.
"Tayo po ay madami nang nakukuhang occupied areas nitong mga kalaban at nasa atin po ang momentum. We wish to continue that for the rest of the day," Zagala said.
Although he can't exactly say when the fighting will end, Zagala believes that the numbers of MNLF rebels under Nur Misuari are dwindling.
"Estimate natin 30-40. Maganda po ang ating pagabante. Ang report ko lang sa inyo patuloy ang pag atras ng ating kalaban habang po sila'y naiipit na sa isang lugar," he said.
He said MNLF fighters are still holding some residents as hostages.
"Meron tayong data na meron pang 20 pa po diyan. We'd like to assure you that we're using the best troops, the best training and the toughest that we have," he said.
He likewise explained that they are now implementing a "closed quarter battle" where soldiers no longer use heavy weapons as they conduct their clearing operations which include going from house-to-house.
"Ang ibig sabihin po ng closed quarter battle ay dipa-dipa na lang po ang pagitan namin at ng kalaban. Sana po the soonest possible time matapos na natin ito," he said.
Despite the many challenges an urban setting may have, Zagala assured that government troops' are well trained and are always ready.
"Maraming bahay, kwarto-kwarto, mga pader na gawa sa semento---ito po urban setting. Kayang-kaya po nating kasundaluhang yan. We have the will to fight and the commitment to do it," he said. Report from DZMM