Philippine aid convoy ambushed as looting grows

2013-11-12 17:53
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Tacloban - Philippine troops killed two armed insurgents who attacked an aid convoy en route to typhoon-devastated Tacloban on Tuesday, the military said, as soldiers were deployed to quell looting by hungry survivors.

Bodies still littered the streets of the city, where the UN fears 10 000 people could have died when the category-five Typhoon Haiyan struck on Friday.

Thousands of people whose homes were destroyed by one of the most powerful typhoons on record were spending yet another day in misery, as troops established checkpoints to try to restore order and allow much-needed aid to percolate through.

Some of that aid fell victim to one of the Philippines' long-running insurgencies when 15 communist rebels ambushed trucks on their way to the storm-wracked region, a local commander told AFP.

"There were no casualties on the government side," Lieutenant Colonel Joselito Kakilala said, adding that two members of the New People's Army, the militant wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, were killed and another wounded in the clash in Matnog town, about 240km from Tacloban.

Restore order

In the city itself, a curfew was in force as armoured vehicles and elite security forces patrolled streets where famished survivors had raided stores and ransacked other aid convoys.

Hundreds of soldiers and police were placed around the city, the capital of the provincial island of Leyte, which bore the brunt of Haiyan.

Chief Superintendent Carmelo Valmoria told AFP that 500 of his Special Action Forces troops were in place.

"When we arrived here, there was looting everywhere in the city. We have come to restore order and ensure the public safety," Valmoria said.

"We have been conducting checkpoints around the city everywhere and every night to prevent those who have no business [here] from coming in."

Valmoria said his troops had been confiscating knives and were urgently looking for guns that had been stolen from a firearms store.

Earlier on Tuesday, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said four Simba armoured personnel carriers had been dispatched to Tacloban.

"We are circulating them in the city to show the people, especially those with bad intentions, that the authorities have returned," Roxas told DZMM radio, adding checkpoints were being used to prevent people mobbing relief trucks.

Read more on:    un  |  philippines  |  typhoon haiyan  |  natural disasters

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