Four members of the Nur Misuari-led faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were killed on the 12th day of the ongoing standoff in Zamboanga City.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, head of the military’s 7th Civil Relations Group said four armed followers of Misuari were killed on Friday morning and their high-powered firearms were seized by government forces.
4 armed followers of Misuari were killed in the clashes frm 5am-10am today. The troops seized hi powered firearms. Two soldiers were hurt.In a televised press briefing on Friday noon, Cabunoc said a rebel was killed around 9:15 a.m. in Barangay Sta. Barbara and three more were slain in the same area by around 10 a.m.
— LtCol Harold Cabunoc (@HaroldCabunoc94) September 20, 2013
Cabunoc said only 40 to 50 MNLF rebels remain in the standoff and they have been divided into splinter groups.
"Sila ay nag-splinter into smaller groups. Ang iba sa kanila ay leaderless," Cabunoc said."Kanya-kanya. Ang iba sa kanila walang bala."
A total of 111 of Misuari's followers have been captured or have laid down their arms, the army official said. Six rebels surrendered on Friday.
Cabunoc believes the capture and surrender of more MNLF rebels could be an indication that the crisis situation might reach its end.
"Positive tayo na malapit na itong matapos," Cabunoc said.
But he said at least 21 hostages are still used by the MNLF rebels as human shields.
According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the fatalities so far include 10 soldiers, three policemen, eight civilians, and 92 MNLF rebels.
A total of 48 civilians have also been wounded in the hostilities that started last September 9 when the MNLF rebels tried to occupy several coastal villages in Zamboanga City.
Read: Zambo City crisis death toll: 113 - military