9 Sep 2013

Soldiers, MNLF forces clash in Zamboanga

9:39 pm on 9 September 2013

Philippine government forces have clashed with Muslim rebels in the south of the country, forcing residents to flee from parts of the city of Zamboanga.

Officials say at least one soldier has died and six have been wounded, the BBC reports. Unconfirmed reports say the rebels are holding 20 to 30 hostages.

Suspected members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) moved in on Zamboanga, a city in Mindanao, by boat early on Monday, the BBC said, quoting officials.

Clashes spread from the coast to the city's busy Rio Hondo area, with many residents there fleeing to escape the fighting.

The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996. However, some of its fighters remain active.