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Nation

Gov't to transfer detention of 94 captured MNLF fighters

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Government security forces will transfer the  detention  to a facility managed by the Department of Justice the 94 captured members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who participated in the standoff which left more than 100 killed according to an  official here.

Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas said the detention facility of the City Police Office where the 94 rebels are temporarily detained is only equipped to detain suspects of petty crimes.

Roxas, who visited the City Police Office, told newsmen that they have y coordinated with Justice  Secretary Leila de Lima for the transfer of the 94 captured rebels at the correction facility of San Ramon Penal Farm at Barangay Talisayan west coast of this city.

He said the prisoners considered as minimum risk prisoners, who are occupying the correction facility, will be relocated to other facilities.

Roxas said the 94 rebels detained at the San Ramon Penal Farm will be secured by the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel and not the prison guards.

Meanwhile, Roxas said they are hoping that more rebels who are still hiding  will surrender as their locations have been constricted by the government forces.

The government forces estimated that there are still some 50 more rebels believed to be led by Habier Malik still holed up in areas in Sta. Barbara and Sta. Catalina with some hostages.

The Misuari faction of the MNLF suffered four more casualties while two soldiers were wounded as fresh encounters erupted Friday morning in Sta. Barbara, part of the embattled site in this city, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, designated spokesman of the military operation here, said the soldiers were conducting search and clearance operation when they found rebels holed up in one of the abandoned houses shortly after 6 a.m. Friday.

Zagala said four rebels were killed in the firefight but two of the soldiers were also wounded. The government troops recovered the four high-powered firearms from the slain rebels.

Zagala said the encounter took place in Sta. Barbara and Lustre area.

He said that those the troops encountered were part of the groups that splintered under Habier Malik.

Ground forces disclosed that they were still running after more than 50 rebels that splintered into small groups. Government forces also  believe the rebels have divided their 20 remaining hostages.

The latest fatalities brought to 92 the number of dead on the rebels' side, while 111 others surrendered or were captured.

On the government side,  at least 14 soldiers were killed and 119 wounded as the standoff continued on its 12th day.

At least seven civilians have been killed either from  being caught in crossfire or  by stray bullets.
 

BARANGAY TALISAYAN BARBARA AND LUSTRE BARBARA AND STA CITY POLICE OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE GOVERNMENT HABIER MALIK REBELS ROXAS SAN RAMON PENAL FARM
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