MANILA— Despite stiff fighting going with Maute Group terrorists, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday claimed that its initial operations against the lawless elements last May 23 has prevented the bandits from its plan of setting Marawi City ablaze during Ramadhan.
“The terrorist Maute-ISIS Group was surprised by raiding security forces in that safehouse in Brgy. Basak Malutlut, Marawi occupied by Isnilon Hapilon, the taunted “Amir” of ISIS in the Philippines,” said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Monday.
These and much other significant information were obtained from a very reliable source in the continuing clearing operations in Marawi City.
“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,” said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo.
Killed in the ongoing fighting were 61 Maute Group members and 15 soldiers and three police officers.
“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.