AT least 200 civilians are still unaccounted for after 95 days of fighting between government troops and terrorist Maute group in Marawi City, a military spokesman said on Friday.
“It (number of unaccounted for civilians) is about 200. We are enlisting the help of local government units [in trying to ascertain the number] because there are also bodies who have yet to be claimed in funeral parlors,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters in a press briefing.
Padilla said among the 200 were 30 hostages of the Islamist extremist group.
“The 200 would include residents who were not able to escape from the hands of the Maute group, as well as the hostages,” Padilla said.
Padilla, however, said the military would account for the missing civilians soon as it vowed to rid Marawi City of terrorists.
“We don’t set deadlines anymore, but rest assured we are doing our best to end this crisis as soon as possible. We have conducted delicate operations because there are lots of IEDs that could also put the troops in danger,” Padilla said.
IED means improvised explosion device.
Padilla said that the Maute group was down to at least 40 members from as high as 630. LLANESCA T. PANTI