MARAWI CITY — The Philippine Army reported 17 September 2017 that it has captured the Marawi command center of the Maute Group, sympathizers of the Islamic State whose siege of the Mindanao city has lasted almost four months.
Government forces continued to engage Maute fighters in street combat and launched air strikes; on Saturday, the skirmish that eventually won the Army the Maute base started in a mosque and another building.
General Eduardo Año, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, said of the base seizure in a statement, “This enormous gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub.”
General Año expressed his continued optimism against the Maute Group: “As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight. We are ready for that.”
The death toll of the Marawi siege, which began 23 May 2017, is at 149 military troops and police officers, 47 civilians, and 668 extremists. Thousands of residents remain evacuated out of Marawi.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited Marawi last 21 September 2017 to talk to the troops, expressing “his utmost gratitude for their continuing efforts in quelling the terror threats in the war-torn city.”