News / Asia

Philippine Troops Clearing City Attacked by Rebels

Smoke billows at the site of fighting between government soldiers and Muslim rebels of Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga city in southern Philippines, Sept. 8, 2013.
Smoke billows at the site of fighting between government soldiers and Muslim rebels of Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga city in southern Philippines, Sept. 8, 2013.
VOA News
Philippine troops conducted house-to-house raids Wednesday in what they hope is a final push against rebels who took over parts of a key southern city.

About 200 fighters linked to the Moro National Liberation Front, or MNLF, seized parts of Zamboanga City 10 days ago, taking scores of civilians hostage.

The fighting has been some of the worst in years for the southern island of Mindanao, which is home to a decades-old insurgency that has killed around 120,000 people.

So far, the military says it has killed 86 rebels and captured dozens of others. But at least 11 soldiers and four civilians have died in the fighting. About 100,000 people have been displaced.

The military on Wednesday warned the remaining 30 to 40 rebels still hiding in the area to surrender, or risk being killed in the ensuing operation.

The MNLF has long pushed for greater autonomy in the mainly Muslim south. The group signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996. But some of its members continued to fight, claiming Manila did not hold up its end of the deal to develop the impoverished, rural region.

  • 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.

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