The Daily Manila Shimbun


11 soldiers killed, 7 wounded as bomb for terrorists went “wayward”: AFP

June 1, 2017

Eleven soldiers died while seven others were wounded after government troops hit by  friendly fire delivered by a Philippine Air Force plane in Marawi City on Wednesday. Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman said the  Air Force SF260W attack trainer plane accidentally hit the Philippine Army forces around noon time in Marawi City last May 31. “One of our SF260W aircraft conducting air strike that day was successfully hitting its assigned target in its earlier sorties. However, it was unfortunate that the last ordnance round it delivered went wayward for an unknown reason and accidentally hit and caused the lives of our ground forces,” he said. “We are deeply saddened by what transpired. We mourn the loss of 11 of our brave ‘Harbingers of Peace’ and the wounding of seven others,” Padilla added. Padilla confirmed the pilot will not be allowed to fly and was placed under administrative control of their units. “Immediately after an incident like this they will not allowed to fly (an aircraft for the mean time), they will be placed under administrative control on their units, and they will be made available during the conduct of the investigation to answer all the questions from the board of inquiry,” he said. Padilla said the fatalities on the government side has reached 36 with a total of 79 wounded. He said the number of Maute Group members killed rose to 120 with 90 bodies recovered. AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano ordered a board of inquiry to investigate. “I have already ordered the AFP Inspector General to create a Board of Inquiry headed by Major Gen. Rafael Valencia to investigate the incident yesterday wherein a friendly air support fire caused the death of 11 and wounding of 7 soldiers,” Ano said. “It was very unfortunate and no one wanted it to happen. I am deeply saddened and the whole AFP commiserates with the bereaved families with deep regret.  I want to assure the public that it will not happen again and I ensure that all measures and actions are being implemented in order to resolve the Marawi crisis at the soonest possible time without jeopardizing the lives of innocent civilians,” he added. Padilla cited possible causes which will be the subject of the investigation. “There are two things that might happen and these include, first the possible failure on the equipment. So was there material failure? Was there failure of equipment?,” he said. “Second was there a human factor involved? Was there any mistake on the side of the (troops) who give the target location or on the operator of the aircraft? So these are the two things that will be the subject of the investigation of the board of inquiry that was organized by the chief of staff,” he added. Ano said the military may defer use of the SF260 pending the result of the investigation. “Pending the result of the investigation we may defer the use of SF260 for the meantime but we will continue using all other available ground air and naval assets in order to resolve this crisis quickly,” he said. “We are doing our best to comply with the timeline but what is more important is to finish our job with the minimum loss of soldiers' and civilians' lives,” he added. Padilla emphasized that “while the AFP Leadership commits and takes the initiative to conduct a thorough investigation on the circumstances surrounding this unwanted development, the AFP will remain focused on its mission.” “While every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine understands that the intricacies of warfare against these extremists entail high degree of risk, we shall take necessary actions to prevent such incident from happening again,” he said. “Amidst this backdrop, we will be unrelenting in the pursuit of our mission. The drive and the resolve of every AFP personnel in the air, ground, and water remain undiminished,” he added. Padilla also assures that while the military mourn on the loss of their men, “we will attend to their bereaved families and provide comfort and solace to them during this trying time.” He also noted that the military “will incessantly push our way forward to retake the remaining part of Marawi and liberate the people that the terrorists continue to use as human shield.” “We will take down every Maute-ISIS member that continue to desecrate the Islamic City and thwart the security forces from restoring peace and order in this part of Mindanao,” Padilla said. “We continue to sound the clarion: for support from every well-meaning Filipino in every way they can to help government security forces to locate and neutralize the enemies of peace, prosperity, and progress in our country,” he added. (Robina Asido/DMS)