ABOUT 50 Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists are still holed up in Marawi City as their snipers have taken over the battle with government troops, a spokesman for the military said on Wednesday.
“Because of the ongoing operations, there might be less [of the Maute members]. They are very less than the earlier announced members. I cannot give an exact count because this is all an estimate so per estimate, probably, 50 thereabouts [are still in Marawi],” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters in an interview.
He also warned of the possibility that civilians and troops may be targetted by Maute snipers hiding inside the buildings in Marawi.
At the same time, Padilla clarified what President Rodrigo Duterte meant when he ordered the military to suspend its clearing operations as 300 hostages were still inside mosques.
“Our President and our commander-in-chief does not want our operations to be halted. In fact, he only commanded our forces to continue with the ongoing operations and even ordered us to give importance to the lives of the civilians taken as hostages,” he said. DEMPSEY REYES