The dwindling number of Maute Group terrorists are currently holed up in a very small area in Marawi City, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said late Sunday.
When asked for the size of the area still in the hands of the lawless elements, the military official placed it between “one to two square kilometers.”
Año refused to give an exact deadline on when Marawi City will be cleared of the terrorists but said the AFP is doing everything it can to neutralize the remaining Maute Group remnants with the least number of military and civilian casualties and damage to property.
“We cannot impose a timeline or deadline (in the ongoing Marawi City operations) as fighting there involves building-by-building, house-to-house, floor-to-floor. You cannot just rush that as you could potentially left a structure filled with terrorists uninspected, giving the latter an opportunity to target civilians and other soldiers if given a chance,” he added in Filipino.
As of this posting, the AFP chief said that they have so far neutralized 317 bandits since fighting in Marawi City broke out last May 23.
Military and police losses are placed at 82 and civilian dead are put at 44.
“We are painstakingly (operating against them) day-to-day, we are eliminating them, just like yesterday (Saturday), we killed 10 of their snipers, and everyday, they are taking losses and getting smaller in number,” Año said.
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