MANILA - Government troops were able to push back the Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari faction to the shoreline of Santa Barbara in Zamboanga City as the crisis reached its 8th day.
Tanks are now relentlessly bombarding the area.
Nur Misuari's group is believed to be on the retreat and is making a last stand in the coastal community.
The grand Masjid Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the city, is now riddled with bullet holes.
The armed group of Misuari had been hiding in the mosque these past days before the military was able to take control of it.
Sources said Misuari's group could head out to sea to escape from approaching government forces who are currently staging offensive attacks.
"We continue to push forward and we are now constricting this mnlf misuari faction so we can end this conflict as soon as possible," said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief of the AFP public affairs office.
"We now believe they are not an organized group and basically they're fleeing. The momentum belongs to the AFP. We are pushing forward and hopefully we can see the end."
The military spokesman said 51 fighters loyal to Nur Misuari have been killed while 48 more were either captured or have surrendered so far.
Zagala also denied that soldiers are running out of food and are fighting on empty stomachs.
"I'd like to assure that units deployed here in Zamboanga are organized units meaning each unit has their own combat support. General headquarters also downloaded funds to augment the supply that they have especially in food and other supply," he said. With ANC