ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 13 September) — An M203 fired by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) forces from a 40-mm grenade launcher landed in front of a Philippine Red Cross team wounding five of their personnel and a policeman standing nearby along Dr. Evangelista Street late Friday afternoon.
The Red Cross team set up station on the street as government troops exchanged fire with rebels holding out in Barangay Santa Catalina since Monday.
Sensing their safety was also endangered, journalists withdrew from the scene and ran towards the corner of Evangelista Street and Veterans Avenue where the Zamboanga City Medical Center is located. The hospital was vacated Tuesday to ensure the safety of patients and personnel.
“We ran after we sensed that the rebels found our position. We also heeded the cries from a military officer to seek shelter away from the blast site, “Richel Umel, a journalist from Lanao del Norte said.
Umel and five other journalists managed to hitch a ride in the MindaNews vehicle to get out of harm’s way.
Government troops have been trying to dislodge rebels occupying houses in Barangay Santa Catalina for the second straight day but each time was repelled by snipers. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)