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Duterte fires at Maute group

By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS

President Duterte tried out a sniper rifle and fired it at the camp of Maute terrorist group twice during his third unannounced visit to the besieged Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Thursday.

Malacañang said Duterte made a stopover at a temporary patrol base where he tried the sniper rifle.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla also confirmed during the Mindanao Hour press briefing yesterday morning that Duterte did fire the rifle towards the enemy direction.

However, Padilla said it was not reported whether the President was able to hit a member of the enemy camp.

Duterte’s recent visit came 20 days after his second visit and 94 days after the armed conflict broke out in Marawi City.

Duterte visited troops of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident anew to boost the morale of those involved in the fighting.

In his short speech before the soldiers, the President said visiting them is the best way he could show his support to the soldiers of the country who are now fighting for peace in Marawi City.

Duterte has repeatedly said that being with his soldiers on the ground is one of his utmost concerns right now, even if it would compromise his security.

“I will be happy to die for my country. I need to be with you to show my solidarity,” Duterte told the soldiers.

In a separate area inside the war-torn City, the President addressed over a hundred soldiers and handed financial assistance, food packs, and watches.

He once again blamed the Maranao people for allowing the rebellion to ripen in the City.

“I am not blaming the entire Maranao people, I sympathize with them, I grieve with them. But all these years kasi they allowed the rebellion to ripen here, so may mga tunnels, they were stocking firearms and there was this recruitment,” he said during his speech.

“I am not ready to talk peace at this time kasi marami na akong sundalong namatay pati pulis. We have to end it the way it should be,” Duterte added.

“Ang earlier kong pronouncement, we will not stop until the last terrorist is neutralized. That will be the objective, the ultimate objective of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” he continued.

Duterte also noted that once the war is over, the government will look for the money to rehabilitate Marawi.

He again assured the soldiers that he will provide an educational fund for their children.

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