By ELENA ABEN
A 71-year-old woman died after a mortar round hit her house Saturday morning as the Zamboanga City crisis drags on.
This, as government security forces killed five more Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) gunmen, bringing to 102 the number of MNLF Misuari faction slain since day 1 of the attack.
Norma Lladones, of Atilano Drive, Don Alfaro Street, Tetuan, Zamboanga City, was declared dead at the Western Mindanao Medical Center.
Reports said Lladones was in the kitchen at the second floor of their house when a mortar pierced through the wall and exploded. The incident occurred shortly before 8 a.m.
Another member of Lladones’ family was also reported wounded in the explosion.
Police are still investigating from which side the mortar that hit the victim’s house came from.
Meanwhile, officials urged citizens to send more aid for 100,000 people who had fled heavy fighting between troops and rebels in the country’s south, calling their plight a “humanitarian crisis”.
The conflict has claimed more than 100 lives since hundreds of rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) entered Zamboanga in a bid to derail peace talks with a rival group.
While many of the insurgents have surrendered and most of the dozens of hostages they took have been freed, attention has turned to conditions faced by 118,000 refugees displaced by the fighting.
“This has become a humanitarian crisis,” Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told AFP.
She said those displaced were staying in 57 evacuation centres, including the city’s main sports complex where over 70,000 people jostled for space and erected tents and shelters fashioned from scavenged materials.
“We are trying to organize them by providing them better materials,” she said, but appealed to the public to send in more aid in the form of clothes, food, education materials and toys for the many children among the displaced.