[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Philippine troops capture more rebels

Security forces claim to have captured 45 more MNLF fighters as siege in southern port city nears end.

Last Modified: 27 Sep 2013 06:08
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
More than 100,000 people were displaced and 10,000 homes destroyed in the conflict in southern Philippines [AFP]

Philippine troops have captured at least 45 more Muslim rebels - all exhausted and low on ammunition - as a deadly siege in a southern city nears its end, the country's military says.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels either surrendered or were captured in pockets during clashes in coastal communities on Friday.

The siege started on September 9 after the rebels attacked Zamboanga, a major port city of nearly a million people, and took many civilians hostage. 

Troops need to completely clear the coastal communities of rebels before they can declare the guerrilla siege over, military spokesman Ramon Zagala said. The main target is top rebel commander Habier Malik and an unknown number of his followers, he said.

"They have essentially been defeated," Zagala said. "They have no more bullets, food and the willingness to fight but we have to clear the area to the last rebel."

Government forces have killed 138 rebels while 162 others have either been captured or surrendered in a major offensive initially overseen by President Benigno Aquino III.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced and 10,000 homes destroyed in the conflict.

At least 23 soldiers and police have been killed and 180 others wounded. Most of about 200 hostages have escaped or have been rescued, according to the military.

The rebels belong to a MNLF faction led by Nur Misuari. They signed a 1996 autonomy deal but refused to lay down their arms and later accused the government of reneging on a commitment to develop long-neglected communities.

263

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.