DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Not bombing, but “surgical airstrikes with pinpoint accuracy” was how Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla described their operations against terrorist group Maute in Marawi City.
Padilla, who is also the designated spokesperson for the implementation of martial law in Mindanao, said they are taking every precaution “not to bomb” Marawi, in order to save the locals’ hard earned possessions.
“Again, the assurance that we give you is that we are taking every precaution to avoid collateral damage, damage to private property which you have heavily invested on your whole lives, as well as the loss of innocent lives,” Padilla said in a press briefing in a big hotel here.
Padilla said that such measures were necessary to address the tactics employed by the Maute group/
Padilla reported that as of press time, the Army had already lost 11 personnel. Two police men had also died, with one allegedly killed by way of beheading.
Meanwhile, some 39 personnel were currently wounded.
On Thursday, the Army reported killing 31 Maute members and seized six high powered firearms.
“Up to this moment, operations are ongoing and there are still firefights between our forces and those of the terrorists in certain parts of the city. But the objective of our Armed Forces is to clear the city at the soonest time possible,” Padilla said.
Thousands have already evacuated the city, with most of them fleeing to nearby Iligan City and other towns in Lanao del Sur.
Earlier, ARMM Vice Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., described Marawi as “la ghost town.”
The series of clashes between government troops and the Maute group on Tuesday evening, triggered President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
Duterte signed the Proclamation No. 216 which placed the entire island of Mindanao in a state of Marial Law and the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Russia hours after the gun battles erupted. (davaotoday.com)