AFP finds lapses by troops in clashes with Marawi terrorists
MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has found possible lapses by ground troops, and “partly” in the use of the military assets that led to the deaths of 10 soldiers two weeks ago in the ongoing military campaign to free Marawi City from local terrorist groups that have aligned themselves with the Islamic State (IS).
The Board of Inquiry (BOI), which conducted a fact-finding investigation, has already submitted its report to AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año, said the military spokesperson, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla on Wednesday.
“What’s coming out [is] there are many lapses from the troops on the ground and partly the use of the assets,” Padilla over ANC.
But he stressed: “We are not blaming anyone.”
Padilla said the pilot of the aircraft involved in the friendly fire did not appear to have committed lapses during the airstrike, “but there might have been administrative [negligence] coming out from the report.”
Padilla said the BOI also found out that some troops were deployed to the units which they had not operated with “in a long time,” a situation which has contributed to the “complexity” of the ongoing military campaign.
“The complexity became increasingly muddled. The fog and friction of war started coming in and that kind of communciation lapses may have come in,” Padilla, an Air Force pilot, said.
Padilla told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a separate interview that the administrative lapses were a “possibility because the BOI still has recommendations to further look into the accident at the level of all our inits and major services.”
Padilla said the military has conducted nearly a hundred air strikes since the operations in Marawi City began on May 23, and there had been only one friendly fire accident.
Ten soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded last May 31 as the military battled the combined Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups.
“There are measures now recommended by the board to further look into this matter so that they can recommend appropriate measures to correct whatever these lapses are,” Padilla said. SFM
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