Philippines (ODM) – “We just went to a missionary to bring rice, and then the commotion began,” says an Open Doors worker unnamed for security reasons. “We went around the city (Zamboanga, Philippines) and there were a lot of closed roads and the village was in an uproar. The rebels were dressed in civilian clothes and in military uniforms, so it’s difficult to identify them. Then, we passed by the grandstand where the people have been evacuated and saw many tribal people attempting to get inside. We couldn’t help them.”
Wednesday’s incident is already the fourth major fight between the Philippine military and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) since the standoff on the early morning on Monday. Local officials and residents were caught off guard and ran for shelter at the Zamboanga City Grandstand.
“Pray for us,” the Open Doors worker adds. “We don’t know what will happen. We need wisdom on how to manage all these people, especially since MNLF forces are nearby. Some say they had hostages with them.”
Open Doors’ ministry distributes relief to the beleaguered believers through Christian contacts in Zamboanga City.
With businesses and transportation closed and the combat now spilling over the town proper, providing help sufficiently and safely has been challenging. “Right now, we are gathering documents and cooking food in the office,” says the worker. “The military is already here. We feel safe because of them somehow.”