By: Francis T. Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines believes that there are no more Maute Group stragglers inside Marawi City.
In a press briefing, AFP Public Affairs Office chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said the Joint Task Force Marawi has not received any report of encounters between possible remnants of the terrorist group and government troops in the main battle area where previous fighting took place.
It has been more than a week since Nov. 5 when the last encounter took place in the MBA.
Twelve Maute stragglers were killed following heavy exchange of gunfire, Col. Romeo Brawner, the deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, said.
Brawner believes that they are part of the remaining Maute-ISIS Group terrorists who attacked Marawi City last May 23.
Among those killed is Ibrahim Maute, alias “Abu Jamil,” a cousin of brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute.
Arevalo said Brawner told him that there is a great possibility that all Maute stagglers have been neutralized.
“That was exactly my question kanina kay Col. Brawner at ang sabi nya sa ngayon ang nakikita nila ay na-neutralize na natin lahat ng straggers na nandyan sa Marawi,” Arevalo said.
“But be that as it may kung meron pa ring natitira we would like to ask them turn themselves in,” he added.
Arevalo said in many cases, a straggler usually hides in basements and other places, thus, preventing them from knowing what is happening in the outside world.
“Hindi pa nila alam exactly kung ano ang nangyayari, na tapos na pala ang bakbakan so we are hopeful ano na malaman na nila ito and they will either turnover their firearms or give up or they will suffer the same fate as that of their companions because we will not let terrorism to rule our country,” he said.