Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tension in Marawi City subsides, says mayor

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): Tension in Marawi City subsides, says mayor

Tension in Marawi City brought by the Maute terror group dwindled Wednesday morning, City Mayor Majul Gandamra said.

The mayor, however, could not say if all the members of the Maute group, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria I(IISIS), have left his city.

Gandamra said the tension in the city is still there but gunshots have subsided.

“The situation as of 8 a.m. has been under control. Tension is down but I cannot say that the members of the Maute group and ISIS are gone. I was told some of them left the city toward the towns surrounding the city,” he said in a radio interview.

The mayor said that residents are leaving the locality towards Iligan City, causing traffic jam along the lone road to Saguiaran town in Lanao del Sur, the next town from Marawi City en route to Iligan.

Gandamra said he and personnel from the Marawi City police are holed up at the city hall. “We will not allow them to come in,” he said.

The mayor said they are still validating the number of civilian fatalities.

In Maguindanao, all military personnel are on alert for the possible spillover of the hostilities, Major General Arnel dela Vega, 6th Infantry Division (ID) commander, said Wednesday.

“You have nothing to fear, the government is on top of the situation," Dela Vega said.

He said elements of the 6th ID based in Kapatagan, Lanao del Sur have put up more checkpoints along the Marawi-Cotabato highway to stop the spillover of the Marawi City incident.

He added that checkpoints have also been put up along major highways in Maguindanao, where the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which is allied with the Maute group, operates.

He said that armored personnel carriers were also deployed in strategic areas in Maguindanao, including Cotabato City.

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