Why the Western media blackout on this Islamic siege that shut down an entire city? via Why the Conflict in the Southern Philippines Is Far From Over | TIME.com.
Nineteen days have passed since around 200 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels marched on the City Hall there and tried to raise the “Bangsamoro Republik” flag to signal independence from the Manila government. Fifteen soldiers and police now are now dead along with at least126 rebel fighters, while 109,000 civilians have been displaced into squalid camps amid a growing “humanitarian crisis,” according to the U.N.
Rebel numbers have been swelled by reinforcements since the original confrontation on Sept. 9, and although almost 300 MNLF fighters have surrendered or been captured, a significant number remain at large, using Christian hostages as human shields. Zamboanga City is a tropical trading post of around a million people and the principle hub of the national sardine industry. Today, however, gunfire and the stench of rotting corpses characterize the Philippines’ third largest city, situated on the island of Mindanao.
Around 70,000 people are being housed under tarpaulin hastily erected across the bleachers and turf of the city’s main sports stadium. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warns of a real risk of disease outbreaks and an urgent need for food, drinking water, health services, cooking utensils and other necessities. Carlos Conde, the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch, says the situation is deteriorating quickly with children especially hard-hit. In addition, “we are seeing a rise in gender-based violence because of the length of time people are staying there — rape and molestation are expected to increase,” he says.
More: ‘It ain’t over in Zamboanga’
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—It ain’t over.
After almost three weeks of fighting, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Saturday clarified the government had accomplished its mission to free all the hostages of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) but the “work is not yet over.”
In a press briefing here on Saturday, Gazmin said the government had accounted for all the hostages but had yet to complete house-to-house clearing operations 20 days after the rebels assaulted the third largest city in the Philippines and took an estimated 195 hostages.
The fighting that ensued left about 218 dead, wounded hundreds more, and sent more than 100,000 residents fleeing to evacuation centers.
The rebel assault, apparently aimed at thwarting a government peace plan with another Muslim separatist group, ground this city of more than a million residents virtually to a halt, razed 10,000 homes and reduced 30 to 40 hectares of once thriving communities to rubble.
It was one of the bloodiest and longest-running attacks by an Islamic separatist group in the south, the scene of a centuries-long Muslim rebellion for self-rule in this largely Catholic country.
Posted on September 30, 2013 by creeping sharia