Mortar that killed elderly not from us: AFP
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday clarified that the alleged mortar round that exploded and killed an elderly woman in Zamboanga City did not come from them.
"Kami po ay hindi na gumagamit ng heavy weapons. Definitely, hindi po galing sa amin," said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesperson of the AFP.
The victim, 71-year-old Norma Lladones, was declared dead on arrival at the Western Mindanao Medical Center.
Lladones was reportedly preparing food for cops and soldiers in Barangay Sta. Catalina when the blast hit her house located along Don Alfaro Street in Barangay Tetuan at 7:50 a.m.
Barangay Tetuan is about 2 to 3 kilometers away from Barangay Sta. Catalina, where clashes between the two sides continue.
Zagala said soldiers involved in clearing operations no longer use heavy weapons as they are now into closed quarter battle.
"Dikit-dikit na po ang labanan. Di na po tayo gumagamit ng heavy weapons for fear of hurting or giving casualty dito sa mga civilians na hawak pa nila," Zagala explained.
Authorities have yet to confirm if the blast was caused by a mortar round and if it was lobbed by the MNLF rebels.
"Hindi po natin masabi, posible po yan. Kailangan siguro hintayin natin matapos ang investigation ng PNP, ng post blast investigation," said Zagala. - Reports from Edwin Sevidal and Noel Alamar, dzMM