MANILA, Philippines – Troops have reached the edge of Lake Lanao and have cornered enemies in small pockets in the battle area. But the remaining fighters continue to fight back even as many of their leaders are believed to be dead.
On Wednesday morning, October 11, the military’s fighter jets dropped bombs again, according to sources on the ground.
Clashes are sporadic as troops encircle the enemies while making sure hostages are not caught in the crossfire.
A photo obtained by Rappler shows that huge letters spelling out “I love Marawi” by the lake in Raya Madaya, inside the battle area, have been riddled by bullets. They are silent witnesses to battles that troops have fought to push terrorists toward the waters, where the navy and the coast guard watch to make sure nobody escapes.
Anotherr soldier – a young officer – was killed on Monday, October 9, the military belatedly confirmed. First Lieutenant Harold Mark Juan is the 159th to die on the government side.
Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Task Group Ranao and military spokesperson in Marawi, said Juan was killed by an enemy sniper.
The young officer appeared in Rappler’s video report “Final Push: Inside the Marawi battle area.” At 4:32 in the report below, the young officer is seen in action inside the battle area, analyzing a map of the terrain.
He was a member of the Special Forces, an elite unit of the Philippine Army. He was reportedly expected to marry his girlfriend after the war.