President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday announced that the war-torn Marawi City has been set free from the Islamic State-inspired Maute group, following the deaths of its top two leaders—Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
This was announced by the President on a speech during his visit to the troops in Marawi City.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorists’ influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation,” Duterte said.
In a radio report by dzBB, gunshots could be heard during the earlier part of the President’s speech. At the time when an official muttered something to Duterte before making the declaration in the city, no more gunshots could be heard from the background.
Meanwhile, along with the President were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año.
Hapilon and Maute were killed in military operations on Monday. In a press conference on Monday, Lorenzana said that the location of the two leaders was disclosed by a female hostage who managed to escape.
“They were able to get a testimony from a hostage who was able to escape. She was able to confirm the presence of Isnilon and Maute in that particular building. That’s the building that we assaulted this morning. They are confirmed dead,” Lorenzana said.
Joint Task Group Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner, in an interview on dzBB, said there was still proceding operation to rescue the remaining hostages of the Islamic State-inspired group.
Brawner added that this is just a reminder, a declaration that Marawi siege has finally come to an end and they can move on forward to the recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the entire city, particularly the battle zone.
According to Brawner, the Department of Health will “sanitize” Marawi before the actual overhaul of the city,
It was still not clear whether the President would also lift martial in the besieged city.