Troops chase retreating MNLF rebs in Talon-Talon mangroves : MALIK’S IDENTIFICATION CARD FOUND PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 September 2013 12:47

The fight continued yesterday as government troops hunt down for defiant MNLF rebels led by Habier Malik who have refused to surrender and have retreated to the vast magroves in Talon-Talon.

Troops recovered six bodies of MNLF rebels after a heavy gunfight at the Talon-Talon mangroves

Some 100 houses were gutted down by fire that broke out during a firefight yesterday atmPuerto Princesa, Talon-Talon at dawn yesterday.

The blaze was believed to have started by fleeing MNLF rebels to divert the attention of the pursuing government forces.

As this developed,  the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday that an identification (ID) card belonging to Malik has been found in one of the slain Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters.

But AFP public affairs office deputy head Maj. Angelo Guzman said it is still being determined if the body is indeed that of the slain MNLF commander.

Guzman said there were “similarities” between the body and their records of Malik, one of the commanders of MNLF forces involved in the clashes for 20 days.

“ID belonging to Malik found in one killed MNLF fighter in Zamboanga (but) is not a guarantee that he is Malik, though they have similarities,” Guzman said.

But AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said Malik is just one of the five commanders of the MNLF forces who had briefly taken over parts of the city.

“We have to consider how many forces, there are five commanders, and Malik is just one of them,” Zagala said.

As for MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari, the AFP public affairs office chief said their information indicates he is still in Sulu but declined to elaborate.

He added that they are constantly monitoring Misuari.

Despite announcements that the Zamboanga City stand-off is over, the military is still keeping a tight lookout for (MNLF stragglers, according to Zagala.

But he said that these MNLF men are already defeated and are just focusing to escape.

“We believe they are already defeated). (There are) just a few members of them, stragglers, maybe hiding and evading arrest,” Zagala stressed.

He added that government forces are now checking the city for remnants of MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari’s followers aside from improvised explosives the remnants may have left behind.

Earlier, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that the crisis is over.

He made the assessment after there was no firefight Friday night.

Gazmin also said that Malik was still uncaptured.

Meanwhile, the AFP announced that the death toll in the 20-day fighting has now reached the 208 mark.

AFP deputy public affairs office chief Major Angelo Guzman said that this update is as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

He breaks this down to the following:

-AFP: 18 killed, 169 wounded in action

-PNP: 5 killed, 14 wounded

-Civilians: 12 killed, 72 wounded

MNLF: 183 killed (100 now unidentified), captured/surrendered 292

Hostages rescued numbered 195 while high-powered firearms seized totaled to 116 and low-powered ones at 15.