A week long skirmish in the sixth largest city of the Philippines has resulted in the death of nearly 50 rebel soldiers.
On Sept. 9, a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) marched into the city of Zamboanga in an attempt to claim the city, BBC reported. They ventured to raise their flag above city hall but were unsuccessful. As a result they began taking hostages, by some estimates more than 100 total, most of whom have since been released. The conflict also has displaced an estimated 60,000 people, according to CNN.
The siege is believed to have been provoked by Nur Misuari, after he declared an area of the southern Philippines to be an independent state.
The worst of the onslaught took place on Friday when insurgents ignited buildings, injuring civilians throughout the city.
Military officials with the Philippine army are confident in their ability to defeat the MNLF rebels.
"We are gaining ground. We've taken back some of the areas from them. We are still moving forward," military spokesperson, Lt. Col Ramon Zagala told BBC Sunday. Progress has been made as the military is believed to now occupy two-thirds of the land the rebels occupied last week. It is still unclear exactly when the military will be able to claim a victory and have full authority of Zamboanga again.
Monday has brought further hostility with numerous gun fights.
"There is still the sense of fear. Even though the fighting is confined to the five villages, the whole city is a hostage to the current situation," reported Justin Paber, a doctor and resident of Zamboanga.