Philippine Military Says Few More Days Needed to Liberate Marawi

Philippine troops have enough resources but will need a bit of time to quash Islamic militants entrenched in the southern city of Marawi, the head of the army says.

The remaining members of the Maute group, which is allied with the Islamic State, are confined to four villages in the city and their possible exit points have been sealed, Eduardo Ano, chief of staff of the Armed Forces, said in a televised briefing. Fighting the bandits has been made difficult because of trapped civilians and the military’s concern about damaging property, he said.

“The Maute-ISIS group won’t succeed, but we need the support of all sectors of society,” Ano said. “In a few more days, we will be able to clear the whole of Marawi.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that while the remaining militants “continue to put up stiff resistance,” government troops have killed at least 91 rebels, whose numbers have been “greatly diminished.”

Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, head of the Western Mindanao  Command, said at the briefing that U.S. assistance in the operation is limited to technical, training and intelligence sharing.

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