Monday, August 7, 2017

AFP: Marawi war drags on due to human shields

From the Mindanao Times (Aug 7): AFP: Marawi war drags on due to human shields

MORE THAN 300 civilians are still being used as human shields, which is why the military couldn’t bomb the terrorists’ lairs in Marawi City.

However, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año is hoping that fighting, which so far have already claimed more than 500 lives, won’t drag on until the end of the extension of the Martial Law in Mindanao on Dec. 31 this year.

“We are doing our best, it’s almost finished,” chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) told the press during an interview at Camp Panacan station hospital, adding that they are doing their best to limit casualties from the government side. “The lives of our soldiers are important.”

Malacanang and the military have pushed back their deadlines in ending the crisis in Marawi. They also admitted that they underestimated the enemy, from the initial 50 terrorists reported it has now ballooned to over 500.
But President Duterte said that he’s not about to compromise civilian lives and that’s the reason why he couldn’t give the order to flatten Marawi, which he said would have crushed the rebellion overnight.

“I told them ‘do not attack.’ What’s important is we do not want to kill people,” he told reporters last month. “If we have to wait there for one year, let us wait for one year.”

The AFP chief describes Marawi now as having intermittent fighting but the battles have become more intense.

“The only ones left in the area are the core group of Isnilon Hapilon and Maute but … there’s still more than 300 hostages being used as human shields,” he added.

President Duterte and Año visited the troops in the frontline around 4:30 p.m. last Friday. “The presence of the President in the area is already a big thing to them,” he said.

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