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Close to 200 Maute Group men killed

by Francis T. Wakefield

Close to 200 Maute Group terrorists have been killed in the three-week long battle in Marawi City, according to the military.

In a press briefing in Cagayan de Oro City yesterday, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said it’s just a matter of time before they can clear the war-torn city of terrorists.

Año said the militants are isolated in four barangays. “We have sealed off the exits,” Año said as he brought the number of killed militants to 191.
The death toll among government forces is pegged at 58, including 13 Marines who were killed Friday.

Año said troops are advancing cautiously since there still many trapped civilians in the war zone. “We are pushing hard despite losing our men. We have enough forces on the ground. Hindi magtatagumpay ang Maute forces,” he said.

At the same time, Año appealed to the public for patience and understanding over the prolonged crisis. “We hope you understand the situation. We are gaining and winning this endeavor. Kaunting pasensiya na lang,” he said.

Meanwhile, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the deaths of 13 Marines have forced the troops to make adjustments.

“Our losses are because we put premium on saving more civilian lives and complete respect for international humanitarian law and human rights,” Padilla said.

He added that to show its respects to the fallen heroes of Marawi, the AFP will observe a day of silence and prayer. “For the rest of the day today and early tomorrow, we shall not be providing updates,” Padillla said.