The Situation In Zamboanga. FN FAL Identification Needed.

One of my most valued correspondents from the Philippines is a resident of the city of Zamboanga, Philippines. He sent me the above photo. He and his family have been living with the noise of gun fire, military imposed curfew, closed shops, closed businesses, closed roads and a ban on air travel for the past two weeks.

Two weeks ago hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front fighters sailed into the southern Filipino city. Armed to the teeth they attempted to capture the city and declare it independent. The leader of the MNLF was no where to be seen. He had promised the troops that if they were successful the United Nations would reinforce them and each fighter would receive P10,000 ($230 USD) and a gun. I am told that the real purpose of this attack was simply to get media attention for the organization which has been losing support from the local population.

The rebels proceeded to murder and rape scores of the cities residents and take hundreds of hostages. Ironically these hostages were taken from the Muslim communities who they claim to be fighting for (and who hate them as much as anyone else I am told). A historical Catholic religious shrine left untouched by the Japanese WWII occupation was shot up by the rebels. The Philippines Army moved in to take control of the city and have since killed or captured most of the rebels but a small group of 30 – 40 fighters are still holed up with 20 hostages. A number of police and military were killed in action.

The locals suspect that the rebels have been armed with firearms sent by Libyan rebels. Below is a photo of the rebel commander (who has since been arrested) carrying an FN FAL with a muzzle attachment I do not recognize. Can anybody identify the muzzle device. It looks like it could be a rifle grenade launcher.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Ronaldo Olive

    Looks like a LEGO device…

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    I’ll say rifle grenade attachment..Since Col. Gadaffi somehow supported the MNLF and MILF during 1990s probably this among hundreds of weapons came from Libya.

    Some of those FN FAL also were captured by Malaysian Security Forces during Ops Daulat against Sulu terrorist last march (Picture shows the captured equipment of Sulu terrorist alongside their flag).

  • FN FAL Rifle Grenade used in combat during the Libyan civil war.

  • Dan

    I don’t want to sound like I’m defending terrorists, but I have not heard of reports of allegations of rape. Murder of civilians, yes. But no rapes. Source?

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      My man on the ground.

    • You know how the media is. Say what you want leave out the rest.

    • Ben 10

      i live in Manila, and the lamestream Philippine media here have not reported any rapes either, thank God for The Firearm Blog. I will be telling my friends and relatives about this.

  • Lance

    The Islamic terrorist in the Philippines are armed by AL Qaeda arms dealers and by shady members of the Indonesian military so there either surplus FALs from Indonesia or some sold to places like Libya or Lebanon then sold to other Islamic garbage in the world.

    It looks like a real Belgian model from its flash hider.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Sorry, Lance, but if I’m not mistaken the FAL was never in service with Indonesia, so it is unlikely that they came as surplus stock from that country. It is possible that the rifles transitioned through Indonesia from somewhere else, though. This possibility will, however, require much more extensive in-depth investigation to confirm or deny it.

      • Most have passed through so many hands it would be darn near impossible to run them down.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Darned right, Phil! And I doubt these FAL’s would have come from captured stocks from the “Konfrantasi” ( Confrontation ) days between Malaysia and Singapore ( with British support ), on the one hand, and President Suharto’s nationalist Indonesia, on the other, back in the 1960’s, for the simple reason that the Indonesians captured relatively few of their erstwhile opponents’ weaponry. Also, the FAL rifles that might have ended up in Indonesian custody would have been L1A1 SLR’s, which are basically the same weapon but with recognizable detail differences.

          If FAL’s did pass through Indonesia enroute to the Phillipines, it would have been via an underground channel unbeknownst to the current Indonesian Government, otherwise this would imply that the latter were deliberately and actively engaged in undermining their erstwhile neighbours and supposed allies, which is politically highly doubtful considering their mutual concerns with China’s open territorial claims in the South China Sea area ( which, contrary to popular belief, are really not that new as they have existed in one form or the other since the 1970’s or before ; this is one of several reasons why Vietnam saw fit to finally join the Association Of South-East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, once a U.S-backed buffer against the domino effect of after the aftermath of the Vietnam War had finally settled out ).

  • stymie
    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Pretty close, although the one in the photograph appears to be a little longer than the Juggernaut item. However, that apparent additional length might also be a function of perspective, and you might be right.

      • It may just be a DIY device.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Quite possibly that too, Phil. Hard to say for sure in the photograph. though, at least to these old eyes.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    I might be wrong, and It’s hard to tell from the low-resolution photograph, but the muzzle brake looks like one of those after-market muzzle brakes with machined prongs designed for door-breaching and other close-quarters combat.

  • Matt

    It appears to be one of the austrian models, as the bi-pod folds up into the handguards

  • dude

    It looks like the dreaded shirt-collar-detail-of-the-guy-behind-him attachment.It adds +10 to killiness, even moar than the barrel shroud thingie that goes up.

    Seriously, do you have better resolution (not likely, it looks like a TV screen capture) or another angle of that shot?

  • caksz

    The leader of the group picture , 1st & 2nd one.

    Various captured weapons