The Daily Manila Shimbun


20 to 40 Maute terrorists remain in Marawi, military says

August 14, 2017

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has estimated that the number of terrorists in war-torn Marawi City has dwindled to around 20 to 40 individuals, a military spokesman said on Monday. In the "Mindanao Hour" press briefing, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. admitted that while the number of the Islamic State-linked Maute Terror Group members has declined, it still has the capacity to harm others. "The ground commander's estimate, they are less than 40, so between 20 to 40 perhaps. So the force is getting smaller and their capacity to inflict harm by the way is still there because they still have arms. They still have adequate ammunition and they still continue to hold hostages. So that's the compounding factor," he said. As of August 13, 562 were killed from the enemy side in Marawi. One hundred and twenty eight soldiers and 45 civilians died. Padilla said the government forces were verifying reports other suspected foreign terrorists were trying to reinforce Maute remnants in Marawi. The military earlier confirmed some slain terrorists were foreigners, including Indonesians, Saudi Arabians, Yemenis and others. President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao when the Maute terrorists attacked and started occupying Marawi on May 23. Padilla said the declaration of martial law in Mindanao was not to address only the rebellion in Marawi, but the "overall security situation" in the region. "Because it’s a big domino effect. If one is having a violent activity, it may spillover to other parts if we don’t control it. So we need to address all the security issues in all other areas as well," he said. Congress has approved Duterte's call to extend martial law until December 31 this year. Padilla also denied reports the government forces launched operations in Marawi to evict the residents there because the area is a military reservation. "Although it’s true these are military reservations, but we have told our fellowmen that they should not be worried," he said, citing even before rebellion broke out in Marawi, there was no instance that the military tried to remove people He said the AFP respects the traditional dwellers in Marawi. Padilla refused to give names of those who were behind the black propaganda but he said, "they are being closely followed and monitored." Celerina Monte/DMS