Sept 12. - Fighting intensifies between Muslim rebels and security forces in southern Philippines as standoff reaches the fourth day. Sophia Soo reports.
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Security forces and muslim rebels in the southern Philippines exchange fire in a standoff now into its fourth day.
Hundreds of heavily armed Muslim gunmen landed in the coastal districts round Zamboanga in the south of the country on Monday and took about 100 villagers hostage.
After intense fighting in the early morning of Thursday, officials said the rebels had pulled back to a nearby public school, while using hostages as human shields.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES SPOKESPERSON DOMINGO TUTAAN SAYING:
"That's what they're doing from day one. From the start of this, they use the civilians in the area as human shields, and that is the reason why again, since the start, it was really to complicate the security forces to launch an attack. On the matter or what, they are civilians."
Officials say the rebels belong to a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebel group, which runs a Muslim autonomous region on the southern Mindanao island.
At least 10 people have been killed so far in the clashes.
Some locals have moved into temporary shelter at a local stadium to escape the violence.
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