Troops recover mosque from rebels
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2013 - 7:00pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines  - Government forces recovered the mosque occupied by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction of Nur Misuari after an intense firefight as soldiers pushed back the rebels Wednesday afternoon, according to a military official.

The firefight left undetermined casualties on the rebels' side  based on government snipers' sightings,  but troops could not make an actual count as the mosque's perimeter  in Sta. Barbara was still occupied by the rebels snipers, according to Col. Andrelino Colina, commander of Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ).

It took three days for the military ground forces to clear the mosque where the rebels used its minaret as their snipers’ forward position to check all approaching troops from all sides at Barangay Sta. Barbara.

The Light Reaction Company (LRC) took down four rebel snipers as the soldiers backed by armored personnel carrier (APC) barged and swooped down to the rebels' area in a public elementary school in Sta. Barbara.

Another two snipers of the MNLF positioned in the second floor of a school building were also taken down by the machine fire provided by the APC tank.

“However, our soldiers can not move in closer to the area because there remains resistance from the rebels positioned in other nearby areas,” Colina said.

The government troops are staying in the vicinity to prevent the rebels from moving to other areas.

The soldiers are also trying to ascertain the location of around 34 civilians used as human shields by the rebels.

As of press time,  fighting has stopped in the area.

A conflagration that also broke out  adjacent to the mosque was also contained by the firemen after hours of being provided by the troops with gun shots as cover fire against the sniping rebels. 

ANDRELINO COLINA BARANGAY STA COLINA LIGHT REACTION COMPANY MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT MOSQUE NUR MISUARI REBELS SNIPERS TASK FORCE ZAMBOANGA
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