By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday expressed fear that ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group members might use their civilian hostages as suicide bombers out of desperation.
As this developed, the number of terrorists killed as of 7 p.m. 114 soldiers and police officers fighting the terrorists have so far been killed.
The defense secretary said the remaining 30 to 40 Maute terrorists, were using their hostages as human shields, as reported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Marawi.
“Ngayon nakikita nila parang ginagawa na nilang shield yung mga civilian hostages (They are looking at them using the civilian hostages as human shields),” Lorenzana said.
“Hindi pa natin sigurado kung gagawin nilang pang suicide bombing yung mga sibilyan, hindi natin alam. Iyun ang isang kinakatakutan ng mga sundalo, baka palabasin nila yung mga sibilyan pero meron palang mga bomba, ganun (We are still not sure if they will indeed use civilians for suicide bombing. But that is what our troops fear that they might order the civilians with bombs).”
“Yes, as suicide bombers or use them to get near the troops to detonate themselves,” he added.
Lorenzana said although they estimated that while the number of Maute fighters remaining in Marawi City was about 30 to 40 only, these are the good fighters.
Lorenzana, at the same time, said that they are looking at the possibility that the remaining civilians trapped or taken as hostages by the terrorists are only about 30.
“What they are looking at is about 30, that’s what they affirm,” he said.
As this developed, Lorenzana said that they are currently on post-disaster assessment in war-torn Marawi City, 70 days since the siege started.
The rehabilitation of Marawi City forms part of the government initiative Task Force Bangon Marawi.
Tags: Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bangon Marawi, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Manila Bulletin, Marawi city, Marawi City hostages as suicide bombers feared, Maute terrorist, suicide bombers
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