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Local cops missing in Marawi

Some local policemen in Marawi City have been reported missing as the battle between government troops and Maute gunmen enters its eighth day today.

No less than Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), disclosed the information but would not reveal the exact number of the unaccounted policemen.

“They lost contact. We do not know if they were captured or they were just hiding,” said dela Rosa.

The official said the missing cops are local policemen of Marawi City who were trapped when the Maute gunmen started engaging police and military forces since Tuesday last week.

Efforts to account the missing policemen, dela Rosa said, are on-going.

Local policemen were among the first casualties of the attack in Marawi, two of them are junior police officers who were killed near a hospital and right inside the Marawi City police station.

Dela Rosa said that based on their records, a total of three policemen were killed while three others were wounded in the continuing effort to free Marawi City from the Maute Group.

The PNP chief earlier said they have enough forces, mostly from the elite Special Action Force and the Regional Public Safety Battalions, who are currently helping the military to flush out the Maute gunmen.

But he said he had already ordered regional directors and the SAF commander to put on standby their respective forces for possible deployment in Marawi City.

Dela Rosa also disclosed that there is a good coordination between the police and the military in the Marawi City campaign.

He said he appointed a ranking police official to be the point person of the PNP in the military. The Armed Forces is leading the assault against the Maute Group.

“Our elite forces and the local police, they are all under the operational control of the AFP. They (AFP) are the ones issuing orders on deployment and on what to do,” said Dela Rosa.

Police and military forces are continuously launching airstrikes to back up the ground forces coming downtown Marawi City. (AARON RECUENCO)