Wednesday, June 14, 2017

202 extremists already killed in Marawi siege

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): 202 extremists already killed in Marawi siege

As government forces continue their offensive against the Maute Group in Marawi City, the military said at least 202 members of the local terrorist group have already been killed by government soldiers.

There are about 150 to 200 remaining members of the Maute group who are still engaged in a firefight with the government troops, said Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division.

At least 58 soldiers and policemen also lost their lives in the ongoing fighting that began when the extremists group attacked Marawi on May 23. The attack ensued after state agents attempted to serve a warrant of arrest to Isnilon Hapilon, a known Abu Sayyaf Group leader, on the same day.

Aside from the casualties inflicted on Maute members, the government also recovered 172 firearms from the terrorists, consisting mostly of assault rifles.

Maute members continued to suffer heavy losses as OV-10 bombers focused their airstrikes on areas occupied by the terrorists, particularly in the villages of Bangolo and Lilod Madaya, the military said.

The aerial assaults have also resulted to the rescue of more than a thousand civilians who were trapped inside the conflict zone.

It was believed that there are about 300 to 500 residents who are staying inside their homes and area waiting to be rescued, Col. Herrera said.

Scarcity of food and water has remained the primary problem for stranded civilians, according to those who have either managed to escape from the insurgent-held areas or were found by groups searching for survivors.

Meanwhile, 10 individuals, five of them police officers, were rescued by authorities in the war zone on Tuesday morning, June 13, reports said.

According to the survivors, the terrorists knocked on the door of the house where 18 trapped civilians have been holed up, prompting the civilians to run away through the back door that leads to the Agus River.

Witnesses said the extremists ran after them and fired shots resulting to the killing of the five civilians. Those who failed to escape were then taken hostage by the insurgents.

After they were retrieved by the searching team, the rescued survivors were immediately given food, medical attention and are now being debriefed.

The total rescued persons have now reached 1,628, while the recorded civilians killed by the Maute Group is 26, military and police reports said.

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