Palace condoles with families of 2 soldiers killed in latest ‘friendly fire’

MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday condoled with the bereaved families of the two army troopers killed in Wednesday’s airstrike accident in Marawi City and assured them of full government support.

“On behalf of the President, we wish to express our deepest condolences to the families of the two soldiers who were killed in yesterday’s air strike accident while fighting Maute rebel remnants,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

He said the Palace is saddened by the unfortunate incident and a team has been created to investigate the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

“These fallen men in uniform laid down their lives for duty, flag and country. Government will remember their heroism and will provide the necessary assistance to their bereaved families,” Abella said.

Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the two soldiers were killed after an ordnance missed its target during an airstrike in Marawi City around noon Wednesday.

According to Col. Edgar Arevalo, chief of AFP Public Affairs Office, the bomb was 250 meters off target.

The type of aircraft involved in the incident was not identified.

“The impact of the explosion caused the collapse of nearby structures. Large debris from heavily reinforced buildings accidentally hit two of our personnel who succumbed to death in the process,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, 11 others sustained minor shrapnel wounds and are recuperating in a nearby hospital.

Arevalo said the military has already launched an investigation into the incident.

Wednesday’s incident was the second time that state security forces have been killed by “friendly fire.”

On June 1, 10 soldiers were killed while seven others were injured when a wayward bomb from a Marchetti SF-260 trainer jet missed its target by 100 meters.

The two incidents occurred as the military ramped up airstrikes in the operation to dislodge the remaining Islamist militants holed out in their last strongholds in Marawi City. Cielito Reganit/PNA-northboundasia.com