MANILA - The United States Embassy called for a resolution to the siege in Zamboanga in order to stem the loss of more lives.
In a statement, the embassy expressed support for the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“They are professionals dedicated to protecting their communities. We fully support the ongoing peace process and hope the parties can continue to avoid violence as they work toward a final resolution that will last for generations and benefit all the people of the Philippines,” the US embassy said.
It also expressed its condolences to the families of those killed in the siege. “Whether they were brave members of the AFP and PNP or civilians facing their future one day at a time, we share your sorrow at the loss of friends and loved ones.”
At least 6 people were killed and 24 others were wounded following skirmishes between government troops and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels on Monday.
Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said the fatalities include one policeman, one Navy personnel and four civilians.
"More casualties are reported on the enemy side," she said in a statement after convening the city's crisis management committee.
Climaco said the MNLF rebels were holding 200 hostage in Brgy. Kasanyangan and 20 in Brgy. Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga City. They were supposedly being used as human shields.
However, Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor, Philippine National Police Spokesperson, said the 200 civilians in Kasanyangan were merely trapped in the ongoing gunfight.