AFTER three months of intense fighting, government troops finally regained the Marawi City police station and the Grand Mosque in Marawi City.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., military spokesman, said troops took control of the police station on Tuesday. Prior to that, soldiers cleared nine structures inside the main battle zone, where at least 29 buildings were regained.
Padilla said the mosque was used by the Maute Group as a storage area.
The fighting entered its 95th day on Thursday.
“Our use of artillery fire in several places occupied by the enemy are still ongoing and air strikes or air support, close air support from our Air Forces is also continuous,” Padilla said in a news conference.
The military has yet to get the latest report on the number of casualties from the ground. Military officials earlier said clearing operations had been slow because many of the buildings in Marawi were littered with explosives. Padilla said Maute terrorists planted explosives while retreating.
Padilla said Maute leaders Isnilon Hapilon, Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute are still inside the battle area.
“We want to believe that they are still in Marawi,” he said.
At least 300 buildings in Marawi City have yet to be cleared of explosives and booby traps.
“We need to clear every place, buildings and we also have to be careful in clearing these because we are all aware that these buildings were previously used as strongholds by our enemies,” Padilla said.
So far, 129 soldiers have been killed in the clashes while 45 civilians were slain by terrorists. At least 595 Maute members have been neutralized by the government forces.