MANILA, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine military said Tuesday that 107 hostages of armed followers of Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front were rescued over the past 18 hours.
Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, public affairs chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said that 66 of the hostages were rescued at 3:00 Tuesday morning and after a few hours, there were five more.
Thirty-six hostages were released late Monday afternoon, said Zagala who described the rescue operation as "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 is open for 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 rebels should face whatever violations they have committed under the law, he added.
The Zamboanga crisis was already on its ninth day after hundreds of Misuari's armed followers went to the city and encountered government troops. The group seized hundreds of civilians in at four coastal villages and used them as their shields.