MARAWI CITY: Diminishing exchanges of gunfire in this city on Thursday between government forces and the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute Group seem to indicate that the end of clashes between the two sides is nearing.
Locals residing a few kilometers away from the fighting zone have noticed “the volume of gunfire and explosions is declining compared to the previous days.”
The military had launched its “final push” to finally retake the city from the terrorist Maute Group that had pledged allegiance to the IS and wanted to gain a foothold in the country.
It said it has retaken two key sites in the city – the Islamic center and the Bato mosques – from the group that was holing up there..
Other operations resulted in a successful rescue of two hostages several days ago, including the priest Chito Soganub, who were among more than a hundred people held by the Maute bandits for almost four months.
Soganub was recovered by government troops near the Bato mosque together with another hostage – a teacher – on Saturday evening, officials said.
The plight of the remaining hostages is still unknown.
Reports received by The Manila Times said there were “105 hostages” being held by the Maute Group, although the military claims there are only about 60.
The military said it will clear first about 10 hectares still being occupied by the terrorists.