AFP launches aerial offensive vs MNLF

Posted at Sep 16 2013 01:29 PM | Updated as of Sep 16 2013 09:29 PM

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ZAMBOANGA CITY - Soldiers on military helicopters hovering over Zamboanga City are firing shots at suspected rebel fighters in an attempt to end the conflict.

The military said up to 100 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels were still engaged in battles with troops around two coastal villages in Zamboanga, a week after the guerrillas invaded the city to stake an independence claim.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief of the AFP public affairs office, said government troops were able to push back the MNLF-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 military spokesman said 51 fighters loyal to Misuari have been killed while 48 more were either captured or have surrendered so far.