MANILA — Ongoing military operations against the Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City has so far neutralized 299 of the lawless elements as fighting has reached its sixth week, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Wednesday.
Of the said figures, more than half are “body count” or actual remains recovered in the battlefield.
Padilla said two of the recovered bodies are “Middle Eastern” looking and seems like the foreign fighters reportedly supporting the Maute Group. “They (two recovered bodies) resemble Middle Easterners.”
The AFP official, however, said they still do not have firm figures on the number of foreign terrorists helping the Maute Group.
“My previous statement still holds through , we don’t have any other documents to prove (or) use as basis for the existence of all these foreigners except information that have been coming in from various sources,” he added.
Conflict in Marawi City started when government security forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon, the ISIS “Emir” in Southeast Asia, last May 23.
As of this posting, the number of government troops killed in action is placed at 70 while 27 civilians were executed.
The number of firearms recovered from the lawless elements is placed at 347, with the remaining hostages placed at 150 to 200.
The number of still active Maute Group terrorists is placed between 100 to 120.