ZAMBOANGA CITY – The military is getting surrender feelers from local IS militants, an official said, as fighting continued Sunday in the war-ravaged city of Marawi where security forces were trying to dislodge heavily-armed insurgents from their strongholds.
Army Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr. said the military was expecting more to surrender peacefully as troops advanced in the city’s center where most of the militants were hiding among heavily-fortified structures and mosques. He did not say how many would surrender.
As fighting raged, military propagandists, armed with loud speakers, continued with their “psychological operation” aimed at convincing militants to abandon their struggle and surrender peacefully. It was not immediately known whether those who wanted to yield were hardcore members or civilians forced to fight.
The military also insisted that nearly 700 militants had died since fighting began on May 23. The figure, however, was based on intelligence reports and not body count.
Over 150 soldiers and 45 civilians have died in the battle while 2,000 troops were wounded in the clashes.
IS fighters occupied Marawi in a failed bid to make establish a caliphate in Mindanao. AL JACINTO