As the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) attack on Zamboanga continues into a third day, the city’s mayor has said the total number of evacuees has reached over 3,000 families.

An eyewitness reported: “We went to a missionary to bring rice, and then the commotion began. We went around the city; there were a lot of closed roads and the village was in uproar. The rebels were dressed in civilian clothes and in military uniforms, so it’s difficult to identify them. We passed by the grandstand where the people have been evacuated and saw many tribal people attempting to get inside. We couldn’t help them.”

GMA News is updating a timeline of events as they occur. A pastor taken hostage on September 9 is still being detained.

The leader of MNLF, Nur Misuari, is a former governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. There has been no official word from him to date, but an MNLF spokesman said: “The die is cast. We’ve begun on the river of no return… For us, there is no solution anymore except for us to liberate the whole of Mindanao.” (Source: ABS-CBN News)

The on-going standoff seems to have stemmed from the Philippine Government’s termination of The Tripartite Implementation Review of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF, according to local media.