Fighting in Marawi subsides, says mayor
COTABATO CITY – Fighting between government forces and members of the Maute terror group in Marawi City has subsided, but ISIS-inspired members are still around the city.
Hajul Gandambra, the mayor of Marawi, said the fighting already stopped but he confirmed there were reported sightings of Maute group members in some remote areas in the city.
“All vital facilities are under control of the government. No civilian hostages. Maute members only seen passing the city’s hospital. Our hospital is still under operation,” he said.
The clashes erupted shortly after 2 p.m. as troops raided a hideout of a high-profile militant leader hiding in the area along with Maute terror group members in the village of Basak Malutlut, just adjacent of the headquarters of police.
“Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute men were reportedly seen in the area. They open fire on us,” Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, told reporters, adding a soldier was injured in the fighting.
“The firefight lasted for three hours as reinforcement of Maute group from nearby villages arrived,” he added.
Hapilon is the leader of Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf, a group notorious for kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in the south. They were blacklisted by the United States as a foreign terrorist
Hapilon recently joined forces with Maute group, once associated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest rebel group that have signed a peace deal with the central government.
Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes, the provincial police chief, confirmed the presence of Maute and Hapilon in Marawi.
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