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Thousands flee Marawi as troops, tanks deployed

Thousands flee Marawi as troops, tanks deployed

Thousands fled strife-torn Marawi City yesterday in anticipation of a government offensive to drive out hundreds of heavily-armed members of the Maute Group who stormed the Muslim-dominated Western Mindanao city Tuesday.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año will retire in June to become the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary.

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The United States Embassy in Manila yesterday issued an advisory warning its citizens that Islamist militant groups may be planning to kidnap foreigners in Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City, and areas surrounding the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

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Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces Public Affairs Office, identified one of the fatalities as Joselito Milloria, originally from the town of Inabanga.

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Government troops were locked in battle with a small group of suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) fighters yesterday in Bohol, a week before ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) converge in nearby Panglao Island.

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Military operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue in the absence of a ceasefire declaration, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippiines (AFP) spokesman.

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