MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At least two soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded in a military air strike on Wednesday, July 12, the military confirmed.
Colonel Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Office, said the pilot missed his target.
“Initial report from Marawi indicates that the bomb was 250 meters off target. 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,” Arevalo said.
“Meanwhile, 11 others sustained minor shrapnel wounds. All are ambulatory and are recuperating in the nearby hospital,” he also said.
It’s the second reported incident of friendly fire in Marawi City, where the military is flushing out homegrown terrorists who sought to seize the city before the start of Ramadan last May. The crisis is now on its 8th week.
Ten soldiers were also killed in a military air strike on May 31. (READ: Marawi battle zone: Urban warfare challenges PH military)
Arevalo said the military will investigate Wednesday’s incident.
“We are saddened by this unfortunate incident. We are attending to the needs of the families of our troops who died or were hurt,” he said.
Malacañang, on Thursday, July 13, condoled with the families of the killed soldiers.
“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,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement.
The Palace promised an investigation into the incident and gave assurances that assistance would be provided for the bereaved families.
“We are saddened by this unfortunate incident and a team has been created to investigate the circumstances that led to this tragedy,” said Abella. – Rappler.com