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Death toll in south Philippines reaches 87, says military
Publication Date : 17-09-2013
The number of casualties continues to rise as the gunbattle between Philippine government forces and members of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City entered its second week.
As of Monday night, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recorded 87 deaths from the fighting. There were six killed from AFP, three from police, seven civilians and 71 MNLF members.
There were 86 soldiers, 12 police and 39 civilians injured while the MNLF had nine.
Sixyt-four from the MNLF were either arrested or had surrendered.
A report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said that at least 82,000 persons have been displaced from the fighting since Monday night. They were housed in several shelters.
The local government implemented forced evacuation in villages affected by the fighting last week.
The ongoing crisis shut down seaports and airports, closed banks and businesses. Hundreds of homes had been destroyed since the start of the conflict due to gunfires and fire incidents.
The MNLF started their attack on September 9, as they tried to raise their flag in city hall. It was believed to have been led by the faction of MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari, who disagrees with the latest peace deal the government is finalising.
On the ground, the attack is led by Habier Malik, a known follower of Misuari.
Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala on Monday said they have recaptured 70 per cent of areas occupied by the MNLF since their offensive started last Friday. They were still engaging with about a hundred MNLF members.
The military also launched “precision” airstrikes for the first time after eight days of fighting at MNLF-occupied areas on Monday.
The MNLF staged a seige against the government, blaming President Benigno Aquino III's administration for its "total disrespect" of the 1996 Peace Agreement between the group and the government.