Phillippines: Death toll up in Marawi hostilities

 28 May 2017 - 10:58

Phillippines: Death toll up in Marawi hostilities
File Photo: Reuters.

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: The government forces recovered 16 bodies of civilians from separate locations as the military is still battling the fighters of the IS-linked Maute group in Marawi City, five days after the group staged an attack on the city.

Authorities discovered bodies of eight hog-tied men with gunshot wounds to their heads in a dike after following a trail of blood on a road leading to the city at around 8 a.m Sunday (00.00 GMT). Beside the bodies was a cardboard sign with an Arabic term "Munafiq," which means traitor or liar. 

Two women told GMA News that the eight men were workers of a bakeshop in the city.

In an interview with Radio dzBB, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sunday morning said that another group of corpses, mostly that of women and children were found 300 meters away from the Mindanao State University campus.

Identities of the fatalities are yet to be established.

Padilla said that security forces' top priorities currently include clearing the city of the Maute group and rescuing residents trapped in the skirmishes. 

In a separate interview by radio dzBB, Atty. Laisa Alamia, executive secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said that 90 percent of the city’s total population of 200,000 has been evacuated and there are still more than 1,000 residents inside the city.

The IS-linked Maute group attacked Marawi City Tuesday which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the entire southern Mindanao Island. He also cut short his five-day trip to Russia to personally oversee the operations against the terrorist group.