AFP CHIEF AÑO: TROOPS PREEMPTED MAUTE PLAN TO BURN ENTIRE MARAWI CITY



Armed Forces Chief General Eduardo Año said Monday government was able to preempt the plan of the Maute group to burn the entire Marawi City. “The Maute-ISIS Group planned to set ablaze the entire City of Marawi within the time of the month of Ramadan,” Año said in a press statement. He said Maute group members were surprised by the security forces which raided the safehouse in Barangay Basak Malutlut occupied by Isnilon Hapilon, “the taunted ‘Amir’ of ISIS in the Philippines.”

He said this information and other significant details were obtained from a very reliable source in the continuing clearing operations in Marawi. The military earlier said they conducted joint operations in Marawi City upon receiving information on Hapilon’s presence there. Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs office chief, said the plan to burn the entire Marawi City did not push through because of the raid. “Hence, what others termed to be a ‘botched raid’ turned out to be an ‘abortive raid’ that prevented what could have been carnage of an Islamic City in two weeks yet,” he said.


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“And this explains why at the time of the raid, the terrorist group was able to pull out – almost instantaneously and simultaneously – counter actions in various locations in the city to distract the focus of the raid.” he added. As of posting time, the military recorded that the Maute group suffered 61 dead and unverified number of wounded, 42 were physically accounted while 19 were based on eyewitness accounts. At least 37 high-powered firearms, including a .50 Caliber heavy machine gun, and four low powered firearms have been seized.

Security forces have so far rescued or provided safe passage to 390 civilians. The AFP said there were reports that more civilians are still trapped in the crossfire. So far, 19 non-combatant civilians were killed. “The AFP pays tribute to the 15 soldiers killed-in-action and 61 wounded-in-action in its campaign to clear Marawi of terrorists; rescue non-combatants trapped, recovery of civilian casualties, and restore law and order in the city,” said Arevalo.


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Source:AL/RSJ/CNPH


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Renato S Lugto Jr

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