Terrorists still fighting as troops eye end of Marawi war


Posted at Oct 22 2017 01:35 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2017 03:48 PM

Government troops on board a military truck drive past pro-Islamic State militant groups graffiti inside the war-torn Marawi, Thursday. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

"Several" terrorists were still holed up in 5 buildings inside Marawi's main battle area along with "less than 10" hostages, said Major Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the Armed Forces. 
"Lahat ng pagkakataon, ibinigay na natin sa mga naiwang armado d'yan na sumuko, pero hanggang sa kasalukuyan, ayaw po nilang gawin iyan kaya't nagkakaroon po tayo ng military action," Padilla told DZMM. 

(We gave them every opportunity to surrender but they have refused until now and this is why we have kept up military action.)

President Rodrigo Duterte last week declared the city "liberated from terrorist influence" following the killing of terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. 

On Thursday, he also confirmed the killing of Malaysian terrorist Mahmud Ahmad, known to be Hapilon's right-hand man. 

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, head of the military's Western Mindanao Command, said the military may be ready to declare the 152-day conflict in Marawi City over by Sunday. 

Galvez however said the military was still looking for Hapilon's 3 sons and 2 foreign terrorists, whom rescued hostages said were still inside the war zone. 

Padilla said he cannot guarantee that the battle for Marawi would end in 24 hours, promising instead that the conflict "will not last until November."

At least 1,108 people, mostly terrorists, have died since clashes erupted in the city on May 23. Some 400,000 residents in Marawi City and nearby towns were also forced to evacuate, as the crisis left much of the city in ruins. 

The Philippines estimates rebuilding the areas battered by months of fighting could cost at least P50 billion. With Reuters