MANILA—While the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is making steady progress in its fight against the Maute terrorists in Marawi, it is expecting more resistance from the group.
“As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight,” AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said late Saturday.
Fighting in Marawi City broke out after government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts last May 23.
The AFP chief is, however, quick to say that the terrorist group has sustained significant losses following the capture of its two strongholds — the Bato Mosque and Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation — late Saturday afternoon.
Año added goverment troops fought for five hours before the successful capture of the positions.
“This enormous AFP gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub,” he stressed.
Año said the AFP will press on relentlessly until all remaining terrorists, including former hostages turned fighters, to communicate with the military and surrender.