Extremist fighters left in Marawi no longer a serious threat—AFP chief | Inquirer News
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Extremist fighters left in Marawi no longer a serious threat—AFP chief

/ 04:14 PM October 17, 2017
eduardo ano

AFP chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año INQUIRER file photo / Joseph Vidal

The small number of extremist fighters remaining in Marawi City is no longer a “serious threat,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año said Tuesday barely after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of the city.

Año said their ongoing efforts on the remaining terrorists may be treated as a law enforcement matter.

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“Marawi City has been declared liberated. The small number of the remaining enemy can now be considered a law enforcement matter and does not constitute serious threat to hinder the succeeding phases of national government programs,” the AFP chief said in a statement Tuesday.

The military estimated about 30 terrorists left in the main battle area after the deaths of their top leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. Eight are believed to be foreign fighters, including Dr. Ahmad Mahmud, described by analysts as the possible successor of Hapilon.

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Duterte declared Marawi City “liberated from terrorists” on Tuesday, after four months of fighting the Islamic State-linked fighters.

READ: Duterte: Marawi City ‘liberated from terrorists’

Año said they are conducting “mopping-up operations” to flush out the remaining terrorists in the area.

As the fighting comes to an end, he said they can now begin the damage assessment, which is part of their rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a separate statement that the declaration of the President was a signal “to pave the way for the start of a full blown recovery, rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.”

“Clearing operations are underway to finish them off should they decide to continue the fight. Major operations have been concluded,” he said. /jpv

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TAGS: AFP, duterte, Eduardo Año, Liberation, Marawi, Terrorism
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