Marawi mayor urges remaining Maute terrorists to surrender
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra urged the remaining Maute Group terrorists to surrender and end the war that has ravaged his city for more than 4 months now.
This is the scenario that the military said could end the war sooner.
"Ako po ngayon po ay umaapila sa mga tao na nandiyan sa loob na nagsimula nitong kaguluhan na sana ho ay tapusin na ho. Tapusin na natin [ang] gulo nang sa ganoon ay hindi na ho dumami pa ang mawawalan ng tatay o nanay na naghihintay sa kanila para makauwi. Ako po ay umaapila sa inyo," an emotional Gandamra said in an interview on Tuesday, September 26.
(I am appealing to the people who started this war to please end it already. Let's end the war so we don't see more children waiting for their parents to come home. I am appealing to you.)
"Marami na hong namatay at nalagas na buhay na civilian, government troops, as well as these militant troops na walang saysay. Maraming natupok, maraming nasira na pamamahay," he said. (READ: Marawi mayor gets emotional seeing houses in battle area)
(Too many have died – civilians, government troops, as well as terrorists – for nothing. Too many homes have been burned and destroyed.)
Gandamra appeared on Tuesday with recently rescued Maute hostages, who called on the remaining terrorists to "cooperate with government" so they can also see their families.
At least 5 Maute hostages have been rescued, but government estimates show there are 45 more remaining in the battle area.
The military said most of the Maute strongholds have fallen into government hands. In Manila, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reiterated government pronouncements that the war will be over within the month or in the next 3 days.
In Marawi, the military is more conservative. Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Task Group Ranao, said they are looking at ending the war in 10 to 15 days although troops are also aiming to finish it earlier.
"Our troops are continuing their assault on the defensive positions of the Maute-ISIS terror groups," Brawner said.
The latest strongholds the military was able to take were two critical bridges – Bayabao Bridge and Masiu Bridge – and the Raya Madaya mosque.
The death toll among the terrorists jumped to 711 in the latest military report.
Brawner said the Maute members are now fleeing ground zero. "We noticed that the enemy forces are now trying to escape from the main battle area. They cannot help but expose themselves to government sniper fire," he said.
The war has killed 152 government forces and 47 civilians, based on the latest military report. – Rappler.com