5 more sets of skeletal remains found in Marawi battle zone
MARAWI CITY — Five more sets of skeletal remains of suspected Islamic State-inspired gunmen have been recovered inside the main battle zone here this month, bringing to 13 the sets of remains recovered since the war in Marawi ended in October last year, a military official said.
Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, said the remains were found in the city’s Barangays Bangolo and Tolali, part of the main battle zone identified as Sectors 1 and 2, where displaced residents were allowed to enter early this month to retrieve belongings from the ruins of their homes.
More than 1,000 people had been killed during the five-month siege that started on May 23 last year, when gunmen belonging to the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups occupied sections of the city.
Brawner said a number of remains still needed to be unearthed under mounds of debris.
Capt. Fred Vidal, operations officer of the Army’s 63rd Infantry Battalion, said the remains, retrieved through the help of personnel from the Marawi City health office, had been documented before these were taken to the Maqbarah Muslim public cemetery for possible identification.
Dr. Ali Dalidig, Marawi health officer, said three sets
of remains were found from April 1 to 3 in Barangay Tolali, which forms part of the main battle zone that the military labeled as Sector 2. Two other sets of remains were retrieved four days later from the reclamation area and from Barangay Bangolo, identified as Sector 1.
But aside from human remains, two unexploded bombs were also recovered from Sector 2, in the village of Daguduban, from April 7 to 8, Brawner said.
These were in addition to eight unexploded bombs found from April 1 to 3, according to Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, commander of Joint Task Force Ranao.
The military has restricted the movement of people inside the sectors opened for the visit, called “Kambisita,” because despite the clearing operations, there could still be undiscovered explosives littering these areas.
Brawner said they would apply the same restrictions to about 1,000 residents who would be allowed to visit the village of Moncado Kadingilan from Tuesday to Thursday to retrieve whatever was left of their belongings. —Richel Umel and Divina Suson
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