By Francis Wakefield
The military on Thursday said that the death toll on the Maute Group side has already reached 31 following the death of 18 more terrorists in the continuing offensive to flush them out of Marawi City while six were killed and seven wounded from the government’s side.
This after troops of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula Lanao) under Brigadier General Rolly Bautista engaged in an armed confrontation with members of the Local Terrorist Group in Marawi City early Thursday.
At 9:00 a.m. Thursday, operating troops encountered an estimated 30 heavily armed terrorist while clearing two bridges heading towards Bangulo area.
Eighteen more terrorist were killed after two hours of armed confrontation with the same troops. Five high powered firearms were also recovered from the encounter site.
“As of this report, 31 terrorist were already neutralized and six high-powered firearms were recovered by the troops,” Bautista said.
“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in areas we believe are still occupied or infested with terrorists. I specifically ordered our soldiers to locate and destroy these terrorists as soon as possible,” he added.
In another area of the city, soldiers who were also on clearing operations were able to rescue 16 civilians upon reaching Brgy Kilala, Marawi City.
Operating units, through the clearing operations they were conducting, afforded safe passage to the said civilians trapped in the areas at the height of the Maute Group’s occupation of the area.
“The skirmishes and clearing operations today resulted in the unfortunate death of six soldiers and wounding of seven others,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“They made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that the city will be cleared of the terror threat and immediately restore normalcy in this part of Mindanao,” he added.