Skip to main content

Philippines military frees final hostages, still pursuing rebels

By CNN Staff
updated 1:28 PM EDT, Fri September 27, 2013
Soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of policemen who died at the Zamboanga rebel attack in Mindanao. The coffins arrive at Villamor airbase in Manila on September 25. Fighting between rebels and soldiers in the city has entered its third week. Soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of policemen who died at the Zamboanga rebel attack in Mindanao. The coffins arrive at Villamor airbase in Manila on September 25. Fighting between rebels and soldiers in the city has entered its third week.
HIDE CAPTION
Deadly fighting in the Philippines
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Philippines military says all hostages freed from separatist group in Zamboanga
  • Troops killed 15 rebels, freed six hostages in overnight fighting, spokesman says
  • The military says it's sweeping the region for any remaining rebels

(CNN) -- The hostage standoff between Philippines forces and separatist rebels is over, a military spokesman said Friday.

Government forces killed 15 of the rebels and rescued six hostages in fighting that began Thursday and lasted into early Friday, Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

The freed hostages told troops they believe no one else is being held by the separatist group, the Moro National Liberation Front, which took 180 people hostage in the coastal city of Zamboanga more than two weeks ago.

Efforts to negotiate the hostages' release failed, resulting in intense bursts of fighting that had left 158 people dead as of Thursday, including 125 members of the MNLF, the government-run Philippines News Agency said.

Reporter: Not sure if my home is standing
Philippine forces, rebels resume clash

Troops have captured 186 rebels and are now in a clearing operation to sweep the region of any remaining rebels, Zagala said.

"We have severely diminished the numbers of the faction, but we will not rest until we have cleared the area," he said.

The rebels are part of the MNLF, a separatist movement founded in 1971 by Nur Misuari with the aim of establishing an autonomous region for Muslims in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

The MNLF signed a peace deal with the central government in Manila in 1996, but some of its members have broken away to continue a violent campaign.

At least 3 dead in Philippines bombing

CNN's Tim Schwarz, Kathy Quiano and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:08 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Tichleman 1
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Lionel Messi's ability is not in question -- but will the World Cup final allow him to emerge from another footballing legend's shadow?
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
updated 3:32 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
updated 6:49 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
CNN's Ravi Agrawal asks whether Narendra Modi can harness the country's potential to finally deliver growth.
updated 12:44 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetia international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. A survey by pollster Datanalisis revealed that 25% of the population surveyed (end of May) has at least one family member or friend who has emigrated from the country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
ADVERTISEMENT