The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said that government forces have already secured about 90 percent of Marawi City following more than a week of clashes with Islamist militants who sowed terror in several parts of the city since May 23.
“Our fighting forces estimate that they are reaching about 90 percent completely cleared and a little bit more than 10 percent more to go,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.
Mindanao Hour, launched last Monday, seeks to provide regular authoritative updates on what is happening on the ground in Marawi City and relevant regions in Mindanao that aims to provide the public with carefully vetted news from authoritative sources.
The AFP official said however that though only pockets of resistance remain, government forces expect fierce resistance in the remaining places where the militants, who are believed to be holding some civilian hostages, are holding out.
The military believes that the notorious leader of the extremists, Isnilon Hapilon, is still in the area.
“That 10 percent is most likely going to be the area that will be heavily guarded and defended by any of these armed men if they are protecting any individual of high value,” Padilla said.
“We believe he (Hapilon) is still there and we believe that is why they’re putting up a very stiff resistance in the areas that they are still being held up and being cleared,” he added.
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