ZAMBOANGA -- Around 276 members of the Nur Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) detained at the San Ramon Penal Farm in Zamboanga City were transported via a Philippine Navy vessel at around 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The detainees included the 24 rebels who voluntarily surrendered to Senior Superintendent Chiquito Malayo, former officer-in-charge of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO).
The transfer of the MNLF detainees was confirmed by some workers of the Philippine Coconut Authority, which is located near the San Ramon Penal Farm.
The workers said they were in the area during that time and witnessed the transport of the detainees.
Security has been heightened in the entire city, especially in the west coast area. Checkpoints have been set up by Task Force Zamboanga, Philippine Marines and Philippine National Police.
Meanwhile, residents in the nearby barangays expressed relief after they were informed of the supposed transfer.
It was earlier reported that residents near the prison had security issues since the MNLF rebels were detained there about three months ago.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima previously said she believes the MNLF fighters detained in Zamboanga City can be more secured in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
She also cited a Supreme Court ruling that approved the transfer of the trial of Misuari's men to a court in Taguig.
Misuari, who remains at large, and his followers are facing rebellion charges for the September siege in Zamboanga City.