Philippine military: City siege was start of extremist plan
- Nick Mcbride
The battle for the mostly Muslim-populated city of Marawi began on Tuesday last week when gunmen waving black flags of Daesh went on a rampage after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the militants' so-called emir of Southeast Asia. He, however, would not reveal the exact number of the unaccounted policemen.
There was food and water- welcome commodities amid the frequent tears.
Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan and 1st Army Division, said the focus of government forces is to clear Marawi of militants, rescue trapped civilians and recover civilian casualties and victims in the fastest means possible.
The archbishop also addressed the response of government forces, saying, "We beg of them to make the safety of the hostages a primordial consideration". "That is why I addressed majority as orak (boy) when I conversed with them while me and my family walked out of Marawi the day after the siege started". Perhaps they saw my baby when they knocked.
Majority have also complained that they have gone broke as their breadwinners are unable to provide for their daily needs.
At an evacuation center outside the besieged Philippine city of Marawi on Wednesday, the results of a week of misery - a week of violence and uncertainty and long nights and promises of better tomorrows - were evident in the faces and hearts of the displaced.
They will also check on other assistance that the BJMP may provide to the distressed families of the jail guards.
"We will patrol the sea around [Sangir Island], and we will have troops on the ground too", Wiranto said in Jakarta.
The inmates maintained that they do not want to be released under such circumstances as majority believe that they would be exonerated from the charges they are facing.
According to Philippines station ABS-DBN News, the death toll from fighting in Marawi has risen to 104, including some 65 militants, 20 government forces, and 19 civilians. And military leaders say they do not intend to negotiate with terrorists.
He said the confirmed body count is 42 while the confirmed killed by eyewitnesses is 23.
Clashes on Tuesday appeared to be as intense as previous days, according to an AFP reporter who followed security forces who had to run from militants' sniper fire coming from nearby buildings.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also assured the lawmakers that Metro Manila is safe from terror threats.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fr. Chito has now appeared in a video pleading Philippine President Duterte to think of him and the other hostages and listen to the terrorists' demands. Since they're attempting to avoid civilian casualties it's more hard to destroy the ISIS fighters.
Philippines troops have carried out "precision attacks" with tanks and rocket launchers to target the radicals.
An Indonesian anti-terrorism squad source told Reuters that authorities have beefed up surveillance at the northern end of the Kalimantan and Sulawesi regions to stop would-be fighters travelling by sea to the southern Philippines and to prevent an influx of others fleeing the military offensive in Marawi City. "As to the call to surrender, we aired this message in the hope of ending this soon and reducing any more loss of lives and property". In back-channel talks with the militants, the remaining fighters had been urged to give up, Padilla said.
"We will come out victorious".
Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at Singapore's S. Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". "His sincerity regarding the matter should not be questioned", Abella said.