Troops push deeper into Maute-held areas
MARAWI CITY — Government forces continued to encounter resistance as they pushed deeper into four villages with holdouts of a homegrown terror group that wanted to turn this predominantly Muslim city into an Islamic State vassal.
Ground troops, backed by helicopters and bomber planes, pushed farther inward into areas of the city where remnants of Maute group are holed up, according to the Joint Task Force Marawi.
Artillery fire targeted Maute positions in the villages of Marianut, Lilod, Raya Madaya and Bangolo as the military tries to complete its mission to retake the city, said the task force, a multiagency team.
In a statement on Saturday, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the government lost 93 men in the war on Maute as of Friday.
The figure included policemen and soldiers killed in two cases of “friendly fire,” said Padilla, Armed Forces spokesperson.
He said more areas are being cleared and the number of terrorists slain had reached 399.
The military swears by the accuracy of its casualty figures because these are based on visuals and actual body count.
Since the war started, Padilla said soldiers had recovered ammunition and more than 500 firearms from the terrorists.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi, said in a separate statement on Saturday that soldiers are continuing efforts to rescue civilians still trapped in the war zone.
At least 2,000 civilians were believed to have been trapped in the main battle area since May 23. Herrera said at least 1,723 had already been rescued as of Friday. —Allan Nawal
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