Heavy fighting continues as battle area shrinks in Marawi | Inquirer News

Heavy fighting continues as battle area shrinks in Marawi

/ 11:19 PM October 14, 2017

Marawi City

This photo, taken on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, show some of the damage caused by continued fighting between government forces and Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City. (Photo by JEOFFREY MAITEM / Inquirer Mindanao)

Published: 5:57 p.m., Oct. 14, 2017 | Updated: 11:19 p.m., Oct. 14, 2017

MARAWI CITY — Fighting intensified here on Saturday as elite platoons of government troops stormed the perimeters of a 3-hectare area still being held by Islamic State-inspired extremists ahead of the military’s “target” to end the conflict on Sunday.


The military did not hold a fresh press briefing, but it was apparent from the fighting’s intensity that enemy snipers were very active against attacking Marines and Army Scout Rangers.


On Friday, Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., the deputy commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, said at least 80 buildings remained to be cleared in the shrinking main battle area.

‘Targets’ not ‘deadline’

He said the military was confident it could completely retake the city by Sunday, though this was actually not a “deadline.”

“The military doesn’t want to call it a deadline because it brings undue pressure on the troops. What we have are targets and Oct. 15 is one of the targets. Again, we do not want to consider it a deadline,” Brawner said.

“Lives are at stake here. The lives of the soldiers and the hostages may be unnecessarily placed in danger if we rush,” he added.

Some 40 to 50 fighters of the Maute Group, Abu Sayyaf and their allies are still holed up in ruined buildings in a segment of the city’s lakeside area and have laid more booby traps to slow the advance of the soldiers, he said.

He said that on Thursday alone soldiers using K-9 bomb detection dogs recovered nine improvised explosive devices and 44 unexploded ordnances, as well as 28 bodies believed to be those of militants who had died during fierce government air strikes and artillery fire early in the week.


Because members of the city’s Management of the Dead and Missing Persons refused to go into the main battle area, the soldiers themselves placed the remains inside body bags.

Brawner said the extremists’ resistance was expectedly strong as they were now confined to a smaller area.

“As we have said in the past, as we assault the defensive positions of the Maute and they become confined to a smaller space, we anticipate more intense fighting,” he said.

Soldiers nevertheless cleared 12 buildings and killed two more militants on Thursday, bringing the enemy’s death toll to 813, the military said.

A total of 161 soldiers and policemen have also been killed in more than four months of fighting.

Safety of hostages

Brawner said the number of buildings still under enemy control was “still quite a space that we have to recover” and the advancing troops continued to be hampered by the presence of at least two dozen hostages and noncombatant relatives of the gunmen.

“Our primordial consideration is the safety of the hostages and the noncombatants,” he said.

Brawner said the military would step up its final assault to neutralize the terror threat on the city.

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“We will neutralize them, meaning, either they are captured or they surrender,” he said. /pdi /atm

TAGS: Marawi siege

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