MANILA — Even as it praised the heroism and dedication of the 13 Marine troopers killed and 40 others wounded in the clearing operations in Marawi City Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said this incident was but a temporary setback in the efforts to eliminate the Maute Group remnants in the locality.
“This temporary setback has not diminished our resolve a bit. It instead primed up our determination to continue our prudent advances to neutralize the enemy, save the innocent lives trapped in the fight, and set the conditions for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi,” AFP public affairs office chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
“We salute these enormous display of heroism and raw courage of these fallen Marines in the course of the fight to clear Marawi of the remaining members of the Maute-ISIS Group,” he added.
Reports coming in at AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City indicated that a major engagement, lasting for some 14 hours, erupted between Marine units and Maute Group terrorists at Barangay Lilot Madaya in Marawi City Friday.
Arevalo said fighting started 3:30 a.m. and ended 5 p.m. of June 9.
“The Marines were able to inflict heavy casualties to the terrorist group at the expense of 13 killed-in-action and 40 others wounded-in-action at a raging close quarter combat,” he added.
No other details are available yet as fighting is still ongoing.
Arevalo said that the AFP cannot make the names of the fallen and wounded available until such time that we have informed the next of kin.
“We urge our people to pray for eternal rest for our fallen heroes and those of innocent civilians killed by the terrorist group as well as comfort and solace for the bereaved families,” the AFP public affairs office chief stressed.
Government losses in the more than three week campaign has been placed at 58, including Friday’s casualties, and at least 140 in the side of the lawless elements.
The conflict started May 23 when government forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon who is touted to be the ISIS emir in Southeast Asia. PFN/PNA-northboundasia.com