Women, child among fatalities
MANILA - The fighting between government troops and Maute rebels in the southern city of Marawi has left 100 people dead, the military confirmed Monday, as the crisis entered its 7th day.
Among the fatalities were 61 Maute extremists, 20 government troops and 19 civilians, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgar Arevalo told radio DZMM.
Of the civilian casualties, 8 men were found dead in a ditch approaching Marawi City on Sunday. Beside them was a cardboard sign with the word "munafik," which means traitor.
Another 8 bodies -- 4 men, 3 women and a child -- were recovered Sunday afternoon near a university in Marawi's town center.
Arevalo said most of the civilian fatalities died from gunshot wounds.
"Karamihan po, binabaril, tadtad ng bala ang katawan. Mayroon po tayong mga nakikita sa mga larawan na karimarimarim, kalunos-lunos po ang kanilang itsura," he said.
Recovering the remains of the fatalities however was not an immediate priority, as the military focus remained on rescuing civilians and containing the terror threat, Arevalo added.
"Ang priority namin ay kung paano namin mase-secure ang Marawi City at maliligtas ang mga bihag na sibilyan," he explained.
"Kailangan pong matapos na natin ito sa mas madaling panahon... Hindi po tayo pwedeng huminto. Kaya tayo po ay humihingi ng paumanhin at pang-unawa sa ating mga kapatid na Muslim."
The AFP earlier said it will sustain surgical airstrikes to crush the rebel forces.
Arevalo said the military has also recommended to cut cellphone signals in the area, which can be used to set off bombs.
The official urged the public anew to refrain from sharing online information on the troops' location, as well as photos and videos which may be used by Maute to gain recognition from international terror groups.
The pandemonium erupted in Marawi Tuesday after a botched mission to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.