From GMA News (Jul 1): Photo shows armed 12-yr-old boy walking with suspected Maute members
Children have been placed at the front lines in the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, allegedly fighting against military forces for the Islamic State-linked group Maute.
A report by Chino Gaston in 24 Oras on Saturday showed a photo of an armed 12-year-old boy. The teen could be seen standing close to terrorists in the middle of a wrecked street in the war-torn city.
Gaston said that according to a source who shared the photo, the boy was a child warrior being used by the Maute group.
Four days after the Maute group attacked the city on May 23, a police officer told GMA News' Jiggy Manicad that they saw child warriors as young as 10 years old being used by the Maute group in the front line.
Last week, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that it is verifying reports that hostages are being used as human shields and are being forced to collect unexploded ordnance in the war zone.
Gaston's report said that the military was not surprised by the news that the local terrorist group is using child warriors, saying that the Maute group really plan to recruit young minds.
Meanwhile, a 6-year-old boy was injured after getting hit by a stray bullet. The boy was immediately brought to the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi.
The AFP on Friday said that as of June 29, a total of 44 civilians have been confirmed killed by the Maute group. The government side has lost 82 men while a total of 303 Maute group members have been killed in the ongoing conflict.