"Climaco said the group wants to march to the City Hall to raise their flag there and declare independence from the government."
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) — At least 100 suspected members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have taken over 4 barangays in Zamboanga City Monday, September 9, Mayor Maria Isabelle "Beng" Climaco told Rappler.
As of 7 a.m., Climaco said the MNLF took 20 hostages. Reports from Zamboanga City radio station dxRZ said the number has increased to 38 as of 8:51 am Monday.
The 4 barangays are: Sta Barbara, Sta Catalona, Rio Hondo, Mariki, and areas in Talontalon. Climaco said they are verifying if the MNLF had taken over another barangay.
Climaco said the group wants to march to the City Hall to raise their flag there and declare independence from the government.
The group is led by a certain Haber Malik, a lieutenant of MNLF head Nur Misuari, according to radio station Radyo Agong, the The Mindanao Examiner reported.
From the sea
The group sneaked into the city dawn Monday from the sea, and launched the attacks sunrise.
As of 8:30 am, the MNLF group is nearing the Zamboanga City Medical Center, on their way to the City Hall where they plan to raise the MNLF flag.
The city cancelled classes and various establishments have shut down. There were blockades in the coastal areas to prevent more MNLF troops from entering the city. Climaco convened the Crisis Management Committee early Monday morning to address the situation....