Marawi siege hits one-month mark

Military operations continue to focus on clearing Marawi of remaining armed terrorists posing pockets of resistance, and rescuing trapped residents.

Marawi City — The Armed Forces of the Philippines reports that as of 1200H of 20 June 2017, 268 members of the Maute Group have been killed during the month-long Marawi Siege, with 271 of their firearms recovered by the government. Meanwhile, 66 of the government’s security forces were killed in action and 26 civilians were killed by terrorists.

Military operations continue with the following areas of focus: Clearing Marawi of remaining armed terrorists posing pockets of resistance to advancing troops; the rescue of trapped residents, including those held hostage by the Maute; the recovery of the remains of civilian casualties in the fighting zone. The AFP is also looking beyond offensive operations, to assisting the local government and concerned non-government organizations in relief operations. The military is also prepared to lend a hand to the eventual reconstruction and rebuilding phase as soon as the rebellion has been quelled—and have, in fact, conducted dialogues with local and religious leaders regarding the rehabilitation of Marawi.

President Rodrigo Duterte with AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año, courtesy of the Presidential Communications Office.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año shares that the Armed Forces has prepared the Combat Engineering Brigades from the Army and the Navy for immediate deployment, as soon as the clearing operations are completed. The recently activated Task Force Ranao has been operating in full swing, ensuring that efforts to save lives of innocent non-combatant civilians remain its primary goal; Ranao has likewise taken charge in the collation and in the distribution of relief goods to evacuees in tandem with the local government.

The AFP reports that the trend, as previously reported, of dwindling enemy resistance continues. Enemy-held areas continue to diminish as government security forces continue their advance; this has allowed troops to recover cadavers of terrorists and their firearms and communications equipment, further lessening the group’s capabilities. The AFP has likewise seized key vantage points, allowing more control and surveillance over Marawi. There has been, however, increased arson activities of the rebels in various areas of the city.

Alongside engaging with the terrorists, clearing operations continue for the AFP. Out of Marawi’s 96 barangays, portions of four barangays remain as problematic areas due to a host of obstacles. The Maute has been using snipers, IEDs, and RPGs from remaining vantage positions, as well as their use of combustible materials and other incendiary devices, which pose a considerable challenge to our advancing troops. The terrorists continue, as previously reported, to use non-combatant civilians as shields and have been situating themselves in mosques and using these as either safe havens or as stages for assaults.