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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Thousands of Muslims – displaced by military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan province – have received food aid on Wednesday after truckloads of relief goods arrived there from the government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The distribution of relief goods to refugees came ahead of expected visit Thursday of President Rodrigo Duterte in Zamboanga City and Basilan where he will meet with security officials and troops.

Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman led the distribution of food packs – comprising rice, canned goods and coffee, among others – to the villagers in the towns of Al-Barka, Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan where security forces launched an operation against the notorious militant group which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Hataman was accompanied by dozens of social workers and members of the ARMM-Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team in the distribution of food packs. Security was tight during the relief mission conducted in safer areas in the towns.

Hataman also ordered social workers to look into the plight and welfare of those displaced by the fighting. He assured refugees of the continuous aid until the security situation improved.

The military did not release any information in the progress of the government’s anti-insurgency operation or whether it will take part in future humanitarian mission for refugees in the province. (Mindanao Examiner)

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