Filipino Rebels Clash With Government, Take Hostages

Three dead and about a dozen civilians taken hostage in a standoff in Zamboanga City, hub for U.S. counterterrorism efforts

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STR / AFP / Getty Images

Combat police forces check their comrade who was hit by Moro National Liberation Front sniper fire in downtown Zamboanga City in the Philippines on Sept. 9, 2013

Violent clashes between government forces and suspected Muslim rebels rocked the City of Zamboanga in southern Philippines on Monday morning. Gunfire broke out when the rebels were spotted on boats offshore by a naval vessel and later spilled into the coastal city, where the rebels took cover in a crowded neighborhood, reportedly taking about a dozen hostages.

One navy soldier and two rebels have been killed, and troops and police are currently surrounding the area.

The assailants are believed to be members of the Moro National Liberation Front, an insurgent group fighting for self-rule for Muslims in southern Philippines. The clashes shatter years of relative peace in Zamboanga City, where U.S. counterterrorism forces have provided training to Philippine troops since 2002.