Bombing runs, artillery fire vs Maute continue
MARAWI CITY—The military continued to pound on Friday the positions of the Maute group and its allies here, 88 days since fighting started on May 23.
From the air, a P3 Orion guided bomber planes as they dropped explosives on the remaining battle zone measuring about a square kilometer, where some 70-80 gunmen were holed up, while helicopters also fired rockets towards it.
On the ground, artillery fires also battered the same area.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Task Force Marawi, said the air strikes and the use of howitzers were necessary.
“The air assault continues,” Petinglay said.
She said the use of air assets depended on ground commanders. “If they see it’s important, we use them,” Petinglay said.
She said the air strikes and the artillery fires had been helping ground troops in their advance to clear more areas.
Petinglay said that as of Thursday evening, soldiers were trying to clear an area measuring about 800 by 600 meters inside the main battle area.
“Some strategic structures occupied by the terrorist have already been regained,” she said.
The battle to regain control of the city had become costly for the military in terms of soldiers’ lives.
Petinglay said that since the fighting started, 128 soldiers and policemen had already been killed. The figure included those killed in what the military dubbed as “friendly fires.”
But for the last eight days, she said the military had incurred zero casualty.
“We are happy to announce that we did not have soldiers killed for the past eight days,” she added.
Since the war started, nearly 1,000 soldiers were also wounded but 380 had since returned to the battlefield, according to Petinglay.
She said the extremists had so far lost 573 members and soldiers had recovered 635 firearms from the main battle area.
“Our troops are still trying to clear more than 400 structures. A total of 1,200 improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance were recovered and disrupted by our troops,” she said. —JEOFFREY MAITEM AND ALLAN NAWAL
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