MANILA — If they want to preserve their lives, then they must surrender to military authorities at the soonest possible time.
This was the challenge issued by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla adding that failure of the Maute Group terrorists to surrender will mean their sure and certain death in the ongoing Marawi City clearing operations.
“We aired this message in the hope of ending this soon and reducing any more loss of lives and property,” he said.
“We will come out victorious! We stand by the people of Marawi whose interests and safety we are protecting. For the terrorists, not surrendering will mean their sure death,” Padilla pointed out.
As of 6 p.m. May 29, a total of 65 Maute Group terrorists were killed by military personnel engaged in the now eighth-day clearing operations.
Of the lawless elements killed, around 42 were confirmed by body count and the remaining 23 through eye witness reports.
Government losses are placed at 20 and this can be broken down into 17 soldiers and three police officers.
Wounded are placed at 72 with 69 AFP and three Philippine National Police personnel.
Padilla said number of rescued civilians are now at 560 while recovered firearms are placed at 5
“(The AFP remains focused in) clearing of Marawi of militants still in the area. Rescue of trapped residents and recovery of civilian casualties, victims (are ongoing),” he added.
Fighting started when government security forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, a known ally of the group and ISIS leader, last May 23.
“Precision airstrikes are judiciously used to prevent collateral damage and employed at specific targets of resistance to protect our troops and hasten clearing of the city of terrorist elements who continue to resist. We call on the remaining terrorist to surrender while there is an opportunity,” he pointed out. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com