MANILA – The death toll in the crisis in Marawi City has risen to 104, as the clashes between government troops and local terrorists entered its first week.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the number of terrorists killed rose by 4 to 65 as of May 29. He said 42 of the terrorist deaths were confirmed by body count while the remaining 23 were verified through eye witness accounts.
The number of government casualties, on the other hand, remains at 20, with 17 coming from the Armed Forces and 3 from the Philippine National Police.
Civilian deaths also remain at 19. These include 8 workers who were shot dead and dumped at a cliff along a highway.
Abella said, some 560 civilians have been rescued by state forces since clashes erupted in the city last week.
Some 12,509 families or 59,665 persons have been displaced in the Northern Mindanao region and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao since the crisis flared up.
The government said the clearing of Marawi City of militants, rescue of residents trapped in their houses, and recovery of civilian casualties remain the top priorities of the government.
Clashes between government troops and Islamist militants erupted following a failed attempt to arrest Hapilon at an apartment in Barangay Basak Malutlut.
The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to put Mindanao under martial law.
In explaining his move to Congress, which has the power to overturn his martial law proclamation, Duterte cited the terrorists’ goal of taking over Mindanao and establish an Islamic State province in the Philippines.
Hapilon has been designated as the point person of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, but Philippine military officials say the infamous terror group has yet to recognize the Filipino bandits as its members.