ZAMBOANGA CITY – Frantic parents rushed Wednesday to a school to fetch their children after receiving text messages that new fighting between security and rebel forces had flared in this city.
The text scare disrupted classes in Talon-Talon village. School officials tried to calm down the children as parents panicked by the reports which turned out to be false.
The message said the fighting broke out in the neighboring village of Mampang, where an oxygen explosion earlier killed a worker.
One woman also rushed to the school to get her child and told the others about the fighting, spreading panic among other parents.
“The report is negative. There is no fighting and there is no truth to the report,” policeman PO2 Nurail Fajal told The Manila Times.
He said the only incident in Mampang was the accidental explosion of the oxygen cylinder. “That’s the only report we have in Mampang where one person was killed (in the oxygen cylinder blast),” he said.
Authorities had warned the public against spreading unverified text messages which can sow panic and fear.
Three weeks of fighting between troops and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels in September left over 400 people dead or wounded. AL JACINTO