News / Asia

    Philippine Rebels, Military Clash on Third Day of Standoff

    Government soldiers battling Moro National Liberation Front rebels take up positions in downtown Zamboanga city, in southern Philippines, Sept. 11, 2013.  Government soldiers battling Moro National Liberation Front rebels take up positions in downtown Zamboanga city, in southern Philippines, Sept. 11, 2013.
    x
    Government soldiers battling Moro National Liberation Front rebels take up positions in downtown Zamboanga city, in southern Philippines, Sept. 11, 2013.
    Government soldiers battling Moro National Liberation Front rebels take up positions in downtown Zamboanga city, in southern Philippines, Sept. 11, 2013.
    VOA News
    The Philippine military is exchanging gunfire for a third straight day with a Muslim rebel group that has laid siege to parts of a main southern city.

    Military officials say at least nine people have been killed so far in the standoff with Moro National Liberation Front fighters in Zamboanga City, located on the island of Mindanao.

    Troops have surrounded at least four coastal villages where about 200 rebels are said to be holding scores of civilians as human shields. Thousands have fled their homes, leaving large parts of the city of nearly one million people largely deserted and resembling a war zone.

    In a statement online, Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said negotiations with the rebels are ongoing. She said the fighters have released at least seven of the hostages in exchange for food, but that around 100 civilians are still in the rebels' control.

    The MNLF is seeking greater autonomy for the mainly Muslim south. It signed a peace deal with the government in 1996. But some of its members continued fighting, claiming Manila went back on its promises to develop the region.

    The group has also protested Manila's peace talks with a breakaway faction, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Some members of the MNLF fear that a government peace deal with its rival group could diminish its own influence.

    President Benigno Aquino has sent representatives to negotiate with the MNLF rebels, who say they want international mediation to the conflict. A similar situation in 2001 eventually ended with the rebels being allowed to go free after releasing the hostages.

    The southern Philippines has been mired in a four decade-long insurgency that has killed more than 150,000 people.
    • Government troopers arrive to reinforce their comrades after an army officer was killed in the ongoing operation against Muslim rebels, Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 19, 2013.
    • Evacuees line up to receive food as fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels continued, Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 19, 2013.
    • Residents line up for a shower in a stadium turned into an evacuation center in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 18, 2013.
    • Villagers who fled the fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels rest in their tents along a boulevard in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 18, 2013.
    • Boats of villagers fleeing the fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels crowd a port in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 18, 2013.
    • Government troops fire mortars during renewed fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels, who have taken scores of hostages, in Zamboanga city in the southern Philippines, Sept. 16, 2013.
    • Government troops prepare an assault on Muslim rebels in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 13, 2013.
    • Government soldiers wearing ammunition prepare to attack Muslim rebels in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 13, 2013.
    • Government troopers prepare for an assault on Muslim rebels in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 13, 2013.
    • Firemen rush to put out a fire that razed several homes as government troopers continue their assault on Muslim rebels in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 12, 2013.
    • A man throws water into a burning house in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 12, 2013.
    • Residents believed to be hostages wave white cloths as they shout at troops to stop their operation in the continuing standoff with Muslim rebels, Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept.11, 2013.
    • Residents who abandoned their homes carry their belongings during a standoff in Zamboanga, Philippines, Sept. 10, 2013.

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs at Global Summit Tackle Range of Challenges

    Innovators strive to halt sexual harassment in India, improve rural health in Myanmar, build businesses in Africa

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora