DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday that 17 more hostages by the Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists were rescued.
“Yes, it is true that 17 more hostages were rescued in Marawi,” Lorenzana told reporters in a text message.
The hostages were inside the main battle zone in Marawi, which has been under siege since May 23 when the Maute group attacked the city in a bid to establish an independent state in Mindanao.
Of the number, nine are males and eight are females with ages ranging from 18 to 75 years old, he added.
“Details of the rescue [operations]is confidential because efforts to rescue the remaining hostages are still ongoing,” Lorenzana said.
Meanwhile, Col. Edgard Arevalo reiterated the statement of Lorenzana that details of the operations could not be disclosed as there were still 43 hostages inside the war-torn city.
Arevalo, the Armed Forces’ public affairs chief, said the capability of the Maute group to resist government troops has been “declining” everyday.
“The intent is to neutralize [the members of the]Maute-ISIS group especially their leadership to ensure that we will be able to confine them in a certain area in Marawi,” he told reporters in a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo. DEMPSEY REYES