MARAWI CITY, Philippines – The death toll on government side has climbed to more than 100 as government armed forces continued to battle with the fighters of the Islamic State-linked Maute Group, which entered its 63rd day on Monday.
The government military said it already sustained 109 soldiers who died since the Maute Group mounted its attack on Marawi City May 23.
In a press briefing at the provincial capitol Monday, Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi said they also recorded 453 Isis fighters and 45 civilians killed, the latter believed to have been allegedly killed by the ISIS fighters while they were either in their custody or trapped in the fighting.
Petinglay said several improvised explosive devices (IED) were also recovered in different areas within and outside the main battle area here asexplosive ordnance teams continue to conduct paneling in different sectors of the city.
On Friday, July 21, an IED was recovered and was detonated in one of the houses being cleared by the troops.
“The explosive device was believed to be placed by the Daesh-inspired terror group in order to inflict casualties among soldiers tracking them,” Petinglay added.
”The AFP is reiterating that they are not yet giving the green light for the civilians to go home because they are still clearing every single house,” Petinglay added. citing the IED found, “which if left undiscovered, might victimize residents returning to their homes”.
She said “a number of IEDs” were already recovered and detonated by the EOD teams.
Aside from clearing the area of the terrorists presence, unexploded bombs, and dead bodies, the military and civilian government personnel were also clearing the area ”of any virus and bacteria such as dengue that may cause epidemic if residents return prematurely”.
During his speech before the families of slain government troops in Malacañang on Tuesday night,
President Rodrigo Duterte said he will press on the fight against the Maute group ”up to the last man” and will not negotiate with them.
“Itong Maute, wala tayong areglo dito, walang usapan, not even a whisper. Hindi ako makikinig sa inyo and we will not stop fighting(These Maute fighters, we don’t negotiate, not even a whisper. I will not listen to you),” Duterte said.
“Hindi na ako pwedeng maghinto ngayon. Marami na akong patay na sundalo, marami na ‘yung walang tatay pati asawa. Hindi ako. Magdagdag pa ako ng isang-libo diyan pero basta gusto ko, patay kayong lahat. Fair is fair. Patay kami, patay kayo (I can not stop from here. I already have many soldiers killed, there are many who have no fathers and husbands. I will add thousands more and i want all terrorists killed. Fair is fair, we are killed and you are killed),” he said. (davaotoday.com)