Fire breaks out in Zamboanga village

Richard Falcatan, Bea Cupin

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Earlier, the MNLF said that they would burn down the barangay

FIRE IN ZAMBO. Firefighters are having a hard time entering the barangay because of MNLF rebels in the area. Photo by Richard Falcatan

MANILA, Philippines – A fire broke out in an Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)-occupied barangay in Zamboanga City around 2 pm Tuesday, September 10.

In a phone call with Rappler, Zamboanga communication officer Christian Olasiman said firefighters were already on their way to Barangay Sta Barbara along with members of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army.

Entering the barangay is proving to be difficult, said Olasiman, because of the presence of MNLF rebels and snipers in the area.

[Yung concern lang ay] dikit-dikit yung houses dito,” he added. 

According to the Zamboanga city government’s official Twitter account, 4 firetrucks are already in the area but firefighters were told by military to wait for clearance before entering the barangay. 

MNLF-CONTROLLED. Firefighters are told by military to wait for clearance before they enter the barangay. Photo by Richard Falcatan

Five to 6 houses were seen burning as of posting. The fire broke out as MNLF and government forces exchanged fire in the barangay. Earlier, the MNLF said that they would burn the place down. 

The city government does not know how many people are still in the barangay but Olasiman said it is likely that most have already evacuated.

Early Monday, September 9, up to 400 members of the MNLF took over 4 barangays in the city. At least 6 were reported killed while 24 were wounded.

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.