By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Wednesday said that two government soldiers and a Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel were killed while 12 others were wounded as a result of the on-going conflict between government forces and members of the Maute Group in Marawi City.
In a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said that based on information they received from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division under Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista, the three government personnel were killed following the gun-battle with members of the Maute Group.
He added that with regards to the 12 personnel wounded, most of them have already been moved to safer ground.
The names of those killed and wounded have yet to be released by the AFP.
“I’m not sure if all of them, but majority of them have already been moved to safer ground. What’s important and what we would like to emphasize is that we are in control of the situation,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo, at the same time, said that the military is in full control of the situation and that the Maute Group is contained in one area.
“If they (Maute Group) have areas… buildings or structure occupied this does not represent the entirety of Marawi City,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo said the current challenge to security forces trying to neutralize the members of the Maute Group are the Maute snipers positioned on top of buildings.
“That will be the challenge for our security forces in order to regain these structures. We need to regain these buildings and that is what we are trying to address,” Arevalo said.
“But your security forces are trained soldiers, they are professionals. What we sent there are tried and tested soldiers because they have to provide the counter-measures we need to do before we can say that Marawi is free from the local terrorist group,” he said.
Arevalo, at the same time, appealed to the public not to share information especially through social media the location of soldiers and policemen on the ground.
“Because this does not only compromise their safety, this will also compromise our security operations,” he said.
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