ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) — Officials say Muslim rebels have attacked a second town in the southern Philippines while they continue to hold scores of hostages in a standoff with government forces in a nearby city.
The vice mayor of Lamitan town in Basilan province, Roderick Furigay, says the rebels attacked predominantly Christian outskirts early Thursday. He says five people are missing and two have been wounded.
Basilan island province is a boat ride away from Zamboanga city, where Moro National Liberation Front fighters have been holding scores of residents as hostages since Monday, when government troops repulsed their attempt to erect a rebel flag at city hall.
The rebels signed a peace deal in 1996, but their faction leader accuses the government of reneging on a promise to develop the impoverished, restive region.