More than 400 dead in Marawi crisis

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2017 03:08 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2017 02:15 AM

Parts of the center of Marawi City, where Maute group terrorists are holed, burn after an air strike by government planes Tuesday. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the conflict may end in one or two weeks. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MARAWI CITY- The death toll in the Marawi crisis has risen to 418 as government troops continue to pound remaining Maute extremists still holed up in the city.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said Thursday the death toll includes 303 terror suspects, 71 government troops, and 44 civilians.

ABS-CBN obtained pictures and videos of massive destruction on properties inside the warzone also showed how Marawi have almost been completely destroyed.

Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman of the provincial crisis management committee, called the ongoing attacks of the terrorists as "beyond evil."

"It's beyond evil. All Maranaos couldn't describe how they feel. It's beyond evil. You feel helpless and angered," he said.

Herrera said one of the Maute brothers, Abdullah Maute, is now running the show on the ground for the terrorists.

"Abdullah Maute is very visible sa area at siya yung nagle-lead. He is the one leading battle positions," he said.

"Nakikita natin meron pa rin problema sila sa leadership. Nag-aaway sila sa pera, sa positions, in terms of decision making. Eventually they will crumble," Herrera said, noting that they have recovered 362 firearms from the enemy.

Military forces were met with resistance by Abu Sayyaf and Maute terrorists last May 23 when they tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf top leader Isnilon Hapilon.

The clashes have prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire island of Mindanao under martial law.

The military estimates that around 100 extremists are still holed up in Marawi and continue to hold sniper and machine gun positions.

"Habang umaatras sila, they occupy another set of buildings. Palapit ng palapit ang mga sundalo," Herrera said.

The military estimates that around 100 people are still held hostage by the Mautes while around 200 to 300 civilians remain trapped in the city.

"Kung wala lang sibilyan diyan, we will use all available assets. We are guided by rules of engagement," Herrera said.