Published: Wed, September 11, 2013
At least eight people are dead and 24 others are wounded, while over 180 civilians remain captive by Moro National Liberation Front forces as the Zamboanga standoff continues into a third day.
Government troops remain focused on containing the MNLF's hundreds of followers scattered around the barangays of Santa Catalina, Rio Hondo, Mariki and parts of Talon-Talon and Kasanyangan in support of their comrades positioned at Barangay Santa Barbara.
The MNLF forces have stationed themselves in mosques, concrete residential houses, elementary schools and sniper positions at high rise buildings.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed concerns that food and other supplies may be starting to run out for the hostages.
The local government is handling the negotiations, but declines to disclose the renegade group's demands.
The government says the MNLF's surrender is the only solution to this crisis.
Lt Col Ramon Zagala, AFP Spokesman, said: "At the moment our mission is to contain them, and that's what we are doing."
In a related development, President Aquino says he sees no need to declare a state of emergency at this time, but reiterated that the priority
is still the safety of civilians.
The President points out that it is also difficult to give a deadline as to when government troops can end the siege, explaining that this may jeopardize the safety of the hostages.
While it would seem MNLF leader Nur Misuari is the brains behind the siege, Aquino acknowledges it is difficult at this stage to categorically state that the Moro leader is actionably liable for possible charges of rebellion or inciting to sedition.