Security forces clash with gunmen in Zamboanga town, rescue 2 civilian
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces rescued two villagers seized by armed men, but a third hostage was killed following a running gun battle in the town of Siocon in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte, police said Saturday.
Police said two other civilians Edison Maquilang and Joseph Pangaral were nearly taken hostage by the gang, but they managed to escape from the gunmen in the village of Reconalla late Friday.
The lone casualty had been identified as Ronie Tangupan. It was not immediately known whether he was shot by the gunmen or killed in the crossfire. The two rescued villagers Marjun Alano, 29, and Carlo Carino, 23, were both handed to local authorities.
Police did not identify the gunmen, but the province is a known stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the communist New People’s Army rebels. The fighting triggered a mass evacuation in the communities of Gisakan and Kumutan.
At least 40 families have already fled for fear they would be held hostage by the armed men or trapped in the fighting. Many of those who evacuated sought safe refuge at a government school and chapel.
Military and police operations continued until Saturday and caught up with the gang and sparking a brief firefight, according to Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, the regional police spokeswoman. “This resulted in a firefight between the government troops and the armed men for about five minutes with no casualties from the government side while traces of blood were seen in the location of the armed men,” she said.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the raid. (Mindanao Examiner)
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