MANILA — Some 13 Maute group remnants were killed in the latest military operations aimed at clearing Marawi City of terrorists, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced Thursday.
“Our operations to flush out and deal with terrorist stragglers has been continuing relentlessly since yesterday (Wednesday). Last night’s operations has been very positive. We were able to neutralize 13 rebels and we confirmed this,” AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said in a statement.
The AFP chief, however, said they had yet to confirm if Malaysian terrorist Mahmud Ahmad was among those who were killed in the operation.
“The AFP is increasingly becoming confident that he was among those who have been killed during yesterday’s operations. The process to confirm this with finality, however, is still ongoing. Earlier information regarding this was received from the rescued hostages. We are now working on getting full confirmation,” Año stressed.
Ahmad was earlier spotted by government forces as among Maute brigands led by slain terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute in Marawi City.
Año also confirmed the rescue of seven more hostages, among them a wounded teenage girl.
Meanwhile, six members of the troops were wounded in Wednesday’s operations but they are now out of danger, the AFP chief added.
Based on the military’s estimates, there are around 20 remaining hostages trapped in the city.
He assured the military’s strong will to end the almost five-month long conflict.
“Troop morale remains very high and motivation to finish the fight is at its highest,” he stressed.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from terrorists’ hands following the death of Hapilon and Maute. Priam Nepomuceno /PNA -northboundasia.com