Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Troops regain 'full control' of Marawi City — Westmincom

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): Troops regain 'full control' of Marawi City — Westmincom

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) announced Wednesday that the government is now in "full control" of the situation in Marawi City, which was attacked by the Maute terror group yesterday.

“As to the Marawi incident, the government is in control of the situation. (We are) fully aware that the Maute and similar groups have the capability, though limited, to disturb the peace. (They) have shown no hesitation in causing havoc, taking innocent lives and destroying property as manifested yesterday in Marawi City,” said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief.

Galvez said they launched an operation against the members of local terrorist group Maute because of information that Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Isnilon Hapilon was with them.

“We tried to contain the fighting in specific areas, but the militants attempted to conduct diversionary tactics in other areas of the city in order to ease off the pressure in the target area where IH (Isnilon Hailon) is believed to be hiding,” he said.

“Containing these terrorists could have been easier if the area is not a built-up community. As our troops have to inch closer to the enemy, they also need to make sure that the civilians are safe,” he said.

“Our soldiers and policemen are complementing each other’s efforts in order to contain and address the attacks conducted by the militants in some areas of Marawi,” he added.

Galvez confirmed that there were casualties, but refused to give details. Initial reports said three government troops were killed and several others wounded in the clashes with the Maute group.

“Yes, we have already incurred casualties from among our forces due to the skirmishes yesterday. We have also received reports of the death of some Maute members, and the death of some civilian, which we are still validating right now,” he said.

Galvez advised residents of Marawi to stay indoors and to be vigilant, and to inform authorities of suspicious individuals.

He also asked the public to refrain from posting unverified information on social media as well as the location of government troops so as not to endanger their lives.

“While it is true that we have enough forces, we still need the full support of the people in Marawi in this fight against terrorism,” he said.

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