Philippines Takes Control of Marawi

Philippines Takes Control of MarawiPhilippines Takes Control of Marawi

Philippine forces now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago, authorities said on Monday.

Only small areas of Marawi are under militants’ control after six days of fighting, said Brig. Gen, Restituto Padilla, the military spokesman, was quoted as saying by ABC.

In recent days, gunmen have managed to fend off attack helicopters, armored vehicles and scores of soldiers.

About 100 people have died in the violence, including some civilians, although authorities were still trying to assess the scope of the bloodshed.

“We can control who comes in and who comes out, who moves around and who doesn’t, and we are trying to isolate these pockets of resistance that have remained,” Padilla said.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa said the operation takes time because Marawi is urban, allowing gunmen to move quickly from building to building to evade capture.

“I cannot give operational details, but I am sure they are also human; they will get tired,” he said.

The crisis in Marawi, home to some 200,000 people, has raised fears that terrorism is growing in southern Philippines as smaller militant groups unify and align themselves with the IS.

On Sunday, Philippine forces said they found corpses in the streets, including at least eight civilians who appeared to have been executed by militants.

The violence prompted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last week to declare 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines, where a separatist rebellion has raged for decades.

Padilla said on Sunday the bodies of four men, three women and a child were found near a road close to Mindanao State University in Marawi.

Eight other men were found gunned down and thrown into a shallow ravine early Sunday in Marawi’s Emi Village, said police officer Jamail Mangadang.

A paper sign attached to one of the men indicated that the victims had “betrayed their faith”, he said, identifying the men as civilians.

In addition to the civilian deaths, Padilla said 61 militants, 11 soldiers and four police were among the dead.

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