Manila, Sep 17 (IANS) As many as 107 people taken hostage by a rebel group have been rescued, the Philippines military said Tuesday.
Xinhua quoted Ramon Zagala, public affairs chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as saying that 66 of the hostages were rescued at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning and after a few hours, there five more were rescued.
Thirty-six hostages were released late Monday afternoon, said Zagala who described the rescue operation as a "calibrated" response of the government troops.
"Our operation is deliberate," he said in a television interview, adding that the military was not resorting to "all out offensive" to ensure the safety of still undetermined hostages.
Zagala said that the military was open to a ceasefire with the armed rebels, but this should be brief, like 30 minutes only, to facilitate their surrender, which he said should be "unconditional".
The Zamboanga crisis was on its ninth day after hundreds of armed rebels went to the city and fought with government troops.
The group seized hundreds of civilians at four coastal villages and used them as shields.