By Francis T. Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMnCom) chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez said that government forces have so far killed more than 80 Maute snipers since fighting broke out in Marawi City three weeks ago.
In an interview, Galvez said despite difficulties ground troops are facing as the terrorists controlled high-rise buildings in a number of areas of the city, they are making progress and neutralizing the enemy.
“Once na naghawak sila (terrorists) ng isang city, kukunin nila yung high ground. Ang hirap kunin yung mga high rise building, ang hirap,” Galvez said.
“Kung control mo yung high rise building, control mo na yung area. So unti-unti naming kinukuha yung mga high rise na iyun. Para kung makuha na namin at least medyo….maganda na yung ano.”
“Imagine, we have already killed more than 80 of their snipers. It only means they are getting weaker,” he added.
Galvez, at the same time, said that of the 96 barangays located in the eastern side of Marawi, the Maute Group still has a stronghold over four barangays.
“Iyung apat lang ang talagang ano, talagang stronghold nila. So yung affected is more or less 10, syempre pwede silang mag-maneuver pero ang talagang stronghold nila is mga apat lang,” Galvez said.
When asked what barangays the Maute Group still held, he refused to give the names due to their tactical value.
“Hindi namin maano kasi to make sure, may tactical value e. Basta iyung apat na barangay iyun ang stronghold nila, others nakuha na namin,” Galvez said.
Galvez also said that based on their estimates, there are still 150 to 200 Maute Group terrorists hiding in the city, waging war with the military.
For this reason, Galvez said it is hard to make any statements on when they could finish off the enemy and finally clear Marawi of the terrorists.
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