MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vowed to exert all possible efforts to ensure that the remaining Maute Group terrorists, now pocketed in a square-kilometer area in Marawi City, are neutralized and all accounted for.
“We are firm in ending this rebellion in Marawi, and we are going to exert all efforts within the limits and bounds of the law, (and existing rules of engagement) to get the remnants of the Daesh (anoher name for ISIS)-inspired Maute Group,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Edgard Arevalo said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday.
Surviving Maute Group terrorists are estimated to be around 40 to 60 as their numbers continue to be whittled down by pursuing government troops since fighting started last May 23.
As of Aug. 13, Maute Group elements killed are placed at 562 along with 128 troops and 45 civilians executed.
Firearms recovered are placed at 619 along with 11 improvised explosive devices and 1,728 civilians rescued from the hands of the enemy.
Based on the military’s latest monitoring, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, Omar and Abdullah Maute, the three ranking leaders of the terror group, are still inside the city.
But Arevalo declined to comment on where these terrorist leaders are located for security and operational reasons.