By Francis Wakefield
The deputy commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Ranao said that it would take at least six more months before the military can finish their clearing operations of IEDs and other unexploded ordnances in 24 barangays within the main battle area in Marawi City.
In an interview, Colonel Romeo Brawner said clearing the barangays of IEDs, bombs and other ordnances would not be easy as the area needed to be cleared is still about 2 kilometers by 1.5 km wide.
“It’s still big, there are still many [areas] to be cleared,” Brawner said.
“Imagine in just one house, the [numerous] debris that are scattered will be picked up one by one, the roof will be lifted one by one. The difficult part is to lift heavy structures/debris. Heavy equipment is needed to get the job done.”
“It’s hard to make an estimate but what I saw as I just came to Task Force Bangon Marawi the timeline given is April 2018. All clearing of bombs should be finished by that time,” he added.
Brawner said government troops continue to retrieve IEDs as the area inside the MBA so far cleared is just two blocks.
“Yes, so far only two blocks have been cleared. The first clearing was easy but now we are using equipment like metal detectors. So we are deliberate now with our clearing operations,” Brawner said.
He said that just last week, soldiers were able to recover 16 IEDs more than a month since government declared the end of hostilities in Marawi.
The total number of firearms recovered stood at 77.
When asked if there are still Maute Group fighters still left or hiding in the MBA, Brawner said apparently there is none.
The Marawi siege, it was recalled, started on May 23, 2017 and ended five months later.
More than 900 Maute Group terrorists were killed by the military as a result of the war.
Tags: Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Brawner: It would take 6 more months before military can finish clearing ops in Marawi, clearing operations, Joint Task Force Ranao, Manila Bulletin, Marawi, unexploded ordnance
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