MARAWI - Soldiers found 24 more bodies of suspected terrorists in a structure at the war zone here Tuesday.
The cadavers were all male, with one identified as a foreigner, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr said.
At least 61 people were reported missing by their relatives since clashes between state forces and Maute terrorists began May 23.
At present, around 16 children are still held as hostages by the extremists inside the main battle area while 10 others are dependents of Maute extremists.
Aside from the cadavers, the military also recovered around 30 high powered firearms in the area, Galvez said.
The remaining terrorists are now just occupying the Markaz Abubakar Mosque after the military recovered the Lumber Mosque.
Government troops have started their "secondary clearing" in the war-torn city, in search of possible extremists still hiding, bombs left behind, and ordnances that did not explode from months of air strikes.
"Baka may mga nagtatago pa sa mga septic tanks at mga tunnels kaya mayroong tinatawag na second clearing to make sure all Maute are completely eliminated" Galvez said.
Around 1,800 homemade bombs have been recovered by the military so far.
Galvez also confirmed that terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon are still alive and are still in Marawi.
"Through our defenses it is very unlikely na makalabas sila," Galvez said.
More than 900 people, mostly terror suspects, have died in the conflict in Marawi City.
At least 10,000 households or some 50,000 individuals have lost their homes in Marawi while hundreds of thousands were forced to evacuate.