By Francis T. Wakefield
Only a few more weeks to liberate Marawi City from the Maute Group, an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Wednesday as the war in that city entered its 100th day.
In an interview, Task Force Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner, said that based on information from military commanders on the ground, the terrorist group is also running out of food and ammunition.
“Well, marami pong indicators na malapit nang matapos ito. First of all ay kumukunti na po iyung lugar kung saan nago-operate ang mga naiwang miyembro ng Maute terrorist group and we believe that they are already running out of ammunition and food (Well, there are many indicators that fighting is nearing its end. First of all the areas where members of the Maute terrorist group operates is getting smaller and we believe that they are already running out of ammunition and food),” Brawner said.
“Kaya nga po (That is why) we beleive that hopefully within the next few weeks ay matapos na po itong marawi siege (the Marawi siege will hopefully end),” he added.
Brawner also said that the number of Maute terrorists in Marawi City has significantly decreased due to the number of fatalities they incurred the past several months.
617 Maute terrorists killed
According to the latest report coming from the AFP Western Mndanao Command (WestMinCom), a total of 617 Maute terrorists have so far been killed as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The number of firearms recovered (both high and low powered) has reached 667.
Brawner also said that they believe that the Maute brothers Omar and Abdullah, and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, are still inside the main battle area.
“Well, we believe that nandun pa ho sa loob ang mga leaders ng maute terrorist group including Isnilon Hapilon and we are making sure na wala pong makakalabas dito sa tinatawag nating main battle area. (Well, we believe that the leaders of the Maute terrorist group including Isnilon Hapilon are still inside and we are making sure that they won’t get out from the main battle area),” Brawner said.
Brawner also said that with regards to the hostages, they believe that they are still alive and they are making sure “that we will spare the lives of the hostages”.
When asked to comment on reports that the Maute group is paying P50, 000 to get the boats of fishermen, Brawner said that they were able to get the cooperation of mayors around Ranao lake to make sure that no boats will be used to send reinforcements around the lake going inside the main battle area.
Train more snipers
Brawner said the fighting in Marawi City shows the urgent need for the AFP to train more snipers.
“One lesson learned from that, kelangan siguro nating mag (there is a need to) train both in jungle and urban warfare. Saka lang hindi, hindi lang isang unit pero siguro lahat may training na ganyan,” Brawner said.
Brawner said the AFP has one sniper school located in Northern Luzon.
Tags: 100th day of war, Armed Forces of the Philippines, deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner, Manila Bulletin, Maute Group, Only a few more weeks AFP officer says of Marawi’s liberation, Task Force Ranao
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