Posted by: Chuck | September 23, 2013

Philippine troops kill 8 Muslim rebels in city battles

Philippine security forces killed eight Muslim rebels Thursday as they hunted the remnants of a guerrilla force hiding in homes of a major city and believed to be holding hostages. A soldier also died, the military reported, bringing the death toll from 11 days of fierce street battles in the southern port city of Zamboanga to at least 114. The fresh casualties came as international human rights monitor issued a report alleging severe human rights abuses committed by both sides, including the rebels deliberately picking out Christians to use as human shields. “Both sides need to do all they can to prevent further loss of civilian life,” Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams said. Hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) gunmen entered Zamboanga, a major southern trading center with one million residents, on September 9 in an effort to derail negotiations aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim insurgency. Three military brigades, or about 4,500 soldiers, have been deployed to neutralize the rebels, according to national military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Ramon Zagala. But the rebels have frustrated the military efforts and prevented a full-out assault by hiding in residential neighborhoods and holding residents hostage. The military said the rebels may still be holding about 25 civilians. (Source: FAP News 9/19/13)



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