International community worried about situation in Zamboanga

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Luiza Carvalho AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The international community has expressed concern about the continuing conflict between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front guerrillas  in Zamboanga City, noting the emerging humanitarian crisis as the number of displaced people and civilian casualties mount.

The United Nations and the European Union have called for an immediate end to hostilities between government troops and the MNLF fighters in a crisis that has dragged on for a week now, forcing thousands of residents out of their homes.

Luiza Carvalho, the UN’s humanitarian affairs coordinator in the Philippines, appealed for “the safe passage of civilians caught in the crossfire” as fighting continued in Zamboanga.

“I urge all parties involved to respect and protect the rights of the civilian population, provide special attention to women and children and avoid unnecessary human suffering by reaching agreement to end the standoff,” Carvalho said in a statement released by the UN late Friday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that at least 16,000 have been forced to evacuate from conflict-stricken barangays while a total of 136,000 people were affected by the violence.

The world body said it was prepared to help the Philippine government in bringing relief goods to affected residents. The United States earlier provided P26.4 million in aid to provide for water, shelter, sanitation and personal hygiene needs of evacuees.

The European Union’s delegation in Manila also condemned the conflict, noting its impact on civilians, especially women and children.

“We strongly condemn any violation of the international law and human rights of the civilian population in Zamboanga, especially those of women and children. We sympathize with the wounded and hurt, and offer our condolences to the families of the victims of this violence,” the EU said in a statement.

The European bloc called for the “unconditional and immediate ending” of hostilities, the release of civilians still held hostage by the gunmen,  and the safe access of humanitarian groups to those affected.

“We further urge that all parties recommit irrevocably and exclusively to the political process and ongoing negotiations to ensure a lasting, just and peaceful settlement in Mindanao,” the EU statement said.

The EU, a member of the International Monitoring Team observing the Mindanao peace process, praised the Philippine government for efforts to end the conflict.

“The EU Delegation commends President Aquino for his firm commitment to achieve peace in Mindanao through an inclusive peace settlement, which is within reach and would be beneficial for all Bangsamoros,” the statement said.

RELATED STORY:

EU delegation condemns armed violence in Zamboanga City

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  • Jack Bw

    I admire the diplomacy, but the statements are too detached, making it appear they are uninterested or ignorant of what’s happening. Get straight to the point and condemn the criminals for taking hostages and using civilians as human shields.

  • Commentator

    The UN OCHA should only recognize the Philippine government because it is the member of the organization. If they have concern with the social services of the country they should talk directly to the government so that their help can be pass or given to the people.

  • MDLANHAM

    Everything under control now. Please don’t worry because every terrorist is dead already. This is what we want …….. Juan dela Cruz.

  • rodben

    The gov’t of Philippines are very talkative without proper thinking from Malacanang to their cabinet members of any agencies…why don’t follow Marcos system less talk but more on action..,same like in Malaysia , Singapore and Vietnam leaders..

  • spiritnsoul700

    When a nation sovereign is under siege the nation security is been threaten/challenge as well , The chain of command must be immediately put into action and announcing the candidate/official who is charge to oversee and responsible in executing out orders/instruction without interference but with full support from the highest order and co operation from everyone

    The appointed official in the chain in command should be given full authority to assert orders and only reports to the highest order The security personnels should only take order/instruction from the chain in command but the latest scenario is becoming unwanted and create confusion among the security personnels, who are in this case are the cops and the military, This isn’t a child play confrontation and such confusion may not only jeopardise the mission from been accomplished but endanger more innocent lives,

    The mission was to subdue the enemy into surrender with minimum casualties and in order to accomplish its goal unnecessary interference without the knowledge of the chain in command must cease with immediately effect if not, expect more lives to be wasted, Protocol must be heed to, seeking request/ intention on seeking a ceasefire must be approved from the highest order with the knowledge of those who are selected to form the chain in command, otherwise if these are not heed to, then the chain in command will break down and the enemy will be a bigger threat, In such confrontation crisis, chain in command plays the key role that will determine between mission accomplished or end in disaster/tragedy/defeat, .

    On the political sides, both the ruling party and opposition must set aside their difference and put national interest above all else to safeguard the nation sovereign and public interest. This is not the time to compete nor outperform each other for supremacy but a call for unity to come togather to stand as one to defend the nation sovereign and the lives of the citizens

  • Diepor

    Come and help, peace is needed.

    • walaywalay

      UNLIKE THE RP—W0RLD LEADERS DO NOT MAKE DEALS WITH TERRORIST GROUPS–THEY STERNLY AND REPEATEDLY WARNED THE RP AGAINST THAT PRACTICE BUT–AS SHOWN IN IRAQ & MINDINAO–THE RP REFUSED TO HEED THE WARNINGS AND NOW WANTS HELP? THE RP NEEDS TO LEARN TO HELP ITSELF FIRST

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