A government soldier takes a position during a gunbattle with Muslim rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), during a gunbattle in Zamboanga city in southern Philippines .
MANILA, Philippines : The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday said that total of 52 people have been killed in the standoff between the military and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City.
AFP spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said that among the fatalities were five policemen and military personnel, four civilians and 43 members of the Nur Misuari-faction of the MNLF.
Zagala added that a total of 46 security personnel and 20 civilians have been wounded and 19 MNLF rebels have been captured or have surrendered.
The military believes that the MNLF rebels were still holding between 80 and 100 civilians as hostages in the five villages affected by the standoff, including Rio Hondo, Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Mampang and Talon-Talon.
Zagala said that the military is for the peaceful resolution of the standoff in the city. He, however, said that the military would retaliate if the rebels would continue firing at its personnel.
Meanwhile, the military spokesperson continued to remind the residents in the villages near the affected areas to "stay out of the danger zone."
The city government said that at least 24,000 people have been displaced by the standoff. (The Philippine Star)