13 Maute fighters dead in clashes with gov't in Marawi City: AFP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2017 09:34 PM

Thirteen members of the Maute group were killed in clashes with government troops in Marawi City, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Office Chief Col. Edgard Arevalo on Wednesday.

In a press briefing, Arevalo said 13 Maute group members are dead, but only 2 bodies have been recovered.

Meanwhile, 5 have been killed and 31 wounded on the government side.

"We commiserate with the families of our departed soldiers who perished in our pursuit of freeing Marawi from these terrorists," Arevalo said.

"We are moving our 31 wounded personnel out of harm's way and to hospital for treatment."

One M16 rifle and components of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were also recovered from the terrorist group.

Arevalo said they have no tally of civilian casualties yet.

He added that Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) Chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. gave a "conservative estimate" of 2 to 3 days before he can confirm that Marawi City has been cleared of Maute group members.

Arevalo said the presence of snipers positioned on top of buildings and IEDs hampered the advance of troops.

"We are going to move cautiously, taking into account also the safety of the civilians that might be in the area," he said.

Arevalo also mentioned that the evacuation of residents contributed to the delay of troop movement. 

"Nakadagdag din sa pagpapabagal ay kailangan nating inspeksyunin ang mga residente o yung mga nagpapanggap na residente na lilisan sa Marawi because there's a possibility some of them may want to pretend to be evacuating," he said.

When asked regarding reports of an abducted priest in the city, Arevalo said these have not yet been verified.

He added that the local government unit has committed to cooperate and support the security forces in their fight against the Maute group.

Arevalo also showed the media a copy of the military's draft of implementing guidelines for operating units after the President announced martial law in the region Tuesday night.

"We are yet to finalize this in the sense that we are yet to receive the final directive from the President with regard to his declaration," he said.

"We are just acting proactively by preparing this list of guidelines that we will be providing for operating units to ensure that they will be abreast and well-educated as to the limits and bounds of how we should implement the additional capabilities that are provided to us by virtue of this proclamation."