By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, (PNA) — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala on Saturday said that the death toll in the Zamboanga City stand-off has now reached 52.
“We have suffered casualties due to the ongoing operations. But rest assured we will press the fight to protect civilians,” he said.
He said the fatalities as of Saturday morning include five police/military personnel killed in action; 43 MNLF members; and four civilians.
Zagala said at least 46 government forces were wounded in action while 19 MNLF members have surrendered or have been captured so far.
On the other hand, he said 20 civilians were wounded.
The crisis in Zamboanga City entered its sixth day Saturday, with the MNLF still holding on to civilian hostages.
Zagala did not give an estimate of how many hostages the MNLF is still holding.
He added that while the military wants a peaceful solution, it cannot agree if the MNLF continues to fire their guns.
Zagala also reiterated the AFP’s appeal to civilians to “stay out of the danger zone.”