MANILA, Philippines – The military suffered heavy casualties in Marawi City on Saturday, October 14, as troops attempt to meet another deadline to end clashes with local armed groups that sought to establish an Islamic caliphate in the city.
At least 20 soldiers were wounded in fresh fighting that continued until Sunday, October 15, according to Task Group Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner.
“Many are wounded. One hostage is rescued,” Brawner said Sunday.
Troops have cornered enemies in a small area – a few city blocks near Lake Lanao – but Saturday’s clashes show they will fight it out until the end. (READ: Terror in Mindanao: The Mautes of Marawi)
The military has been enticing the remaining terrorists to follow others who earlier surrendered.
The military said the safety of the hostages remains their priority but claimed some of them have taken guns to join the fight against the government. (READ: Maute ratholes, trenches revealed as troops gain ground in Marawi)
Some hostages are believed to have been killed in the clashes. This was confirmed by former Maute hostage Lordvin Acopio who said some of them who were sent out to assist fighters in the frontlines – serve as cooks, for example – were killed in the cross fire. (READ: The life of a Maute hostage in Marawi)
About 400,000 residents of Marawi City and nearby towns are displaced by the war, according to local crisis spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong. (READ: Duterte eyes ‘purge’ of officials in Marawi City) – Rappler.com