RESIDENTS of Marawi City cannot go back to their homes until these have been cleared of explosives and ammunitions left behind during the five-month war between government forces and the Maute terrorist group, a military spokesman said on Friday.
“I would like to reiterate that we are not allowing any residents from entering the inner parts of Marawi yet because of the many hazards that still remain such as IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), booby traps, and unexploded ordnance,” Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters.
Padilla issued the warning after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from terrorists on Tuesday.
Padilla cited that cases of evacuees getting hurt by such hazards after the war were not new, as seen in the cases of Cambodia and Laos where residents were injured, or worst, maimed due to the unexploded bombs on the fields and in areas where the the battles took place.
“This [tragedy]is something that we would not like to happen. That’s why we appeal for understanding among our Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as other displaced persons in Marawi. This warning is for your sake, so kindly understand,” Padilla said.
“We appeal for your patience because we really need to clear the city of hazards first,” Padilla added.
As of October 19, at least 897 terrorists were killed by government forces, who included local terrorist leaders Omar Maute, Isnilon Hapilon and Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, identified as a Malaysian terrorist and Maute financier.
Ahmad was killed on Wednesday night.
Since the fighting in Marawi erupted on May 23, there has been 164 government troops killed in action.