Philippines (ODM) — Government forces have retaken a majority of the rebel-held Zamboanga City, located in the southernmost Philippine island of Mindanao.
News reports yesterday also indicated that troops freed more than 60 hostages that the Muslim rebels were using as human shields. However, despite the good news, the unrest has taken its toll on those living on poverty’s edge.
Nearly 82,000 residents have fled the fighting into several emergency shelters, including the city’s main sports complex.
Days ago, an Open Doors worker rescued a literacy learner and her six children walking the streets near the government evacuation center in Zamboanga City.
“We bumped into her while distributing food to believers,” said an Open Doors worker involved in relief operations. “Her husband was mistaken for a Moro National Liberation Front (Islamic group seeking an independent state) rebel.
All her children were starving, and her youngest–a 2-month-old baby–was already at the point of dehydration. She was immediately attended to. Please pray for the little child.” The towns of Rio Hondo, Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara and Talon-Talon have been much ravaged by the on-going Zamboanga Siege. “Four house churches in Talon-Talon were reportedly reduced to ashes, but we have yet to confirm this,” the Open Doors worker added. “The parsonage of our local church partner was hit by a mortar Saturday.”
The church itself was spared from the blast. However, six families belonging to the local church lost their houses. “As of today we are helping more than 300 believers in three refugee centers. Please pray as some are already showing signs of trauma, especially those who have lost their properties. Pray for us (Open Doors workers) too; that God’s wisdom and strength will be upon us in this time of crisis.”