FOLLOWING the deaths of the top leaders behind the siege in Marawi City, Malacanang appealed to the remaining terrorists to cease fighting and return to the “road of peace.”
“With terrorist leaders gone, we call on all fighters to cease further resistance and violence and return to the road of peace,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Tuesday.
“This is also the call of our Muslim leaders, our imams, ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) chiefs, and the leaders of Muslim nations and this is the plea of your families, friends, and communities. Let us restore peace and rebuild our land,” he added.
Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, leaders of the bandits who laid siege to Marawi on May 23, were killed in an early morning raid on Monday in a development that officials said could end the fighting in the war-torn city.
Seventeen hostages were also rescued during the operation, which form part of the military’s final assault against the terrorists holed up in the area.
Security forces are still conducting clearing operations to flush out the remaining 20 to 30 members of the Maute group, including 6 to 8 foreign terrorists.
The Palace official assured the public that the military would intensify its efforts to hunt down other terror organizations in the country.
“We commend our forces for their battlefield advances now nearing total victory. Hundreds of hostages were saved with no violations of rights and religion,” Abella said.
“This has laid a strong foundation for peace and recovery. We will intensify offensive across Mindanao to counter further attacks and to wipe out ISIS cells seeking to exploit people’s grievances for evil,” he added, referring to another name for IS.