Mass burial for bodies recovered in Marawi battle zone

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – The remains of 27 unidentified bodies recovered in the battle zone in Marawi are finally buried in a mass burial on Monday, July 24.

A Muslim cemetery at Marawi's barangay Papandayan Caniogan – Makbara – became their final resting place. 

They make up the remains of bodies whose identities could not be determined because they were found in advanced stages of decomposition. In many cases, only skeletons were found. 

The body bags were collected in a funeral home in nearby Iligan City. Some of them were found as early as May, during the first week of clashes. 

It took time to bury the bodies because local officials and religious leaders didn't know what to do with remains. 

They agreed after a series of consultations to give them a mass burial. They opted against a mass grave. 

They were buried in designated holes – about 8 feet long and 5 feet deep – that were dug side by side at the Muslim cemetery. 

Instead of names, their grave sites were marked with the numbers assigned by cops who gathered evidence that could eventually help identify whose bodies they were. –