Philippine forces face ferocious IS fighters: president

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Giugno 20, 2017

Television footage showed the soldiers bidding goodbye to their families before being flown to the conflict zone.

The city of 200,000 people has been largely abandoned due to the fighting, which has seen the military relentlessly bomb the areas held by the militants, with residents fleeing to nearby towns.

He said if the Supreme Court rules that he had no factual basis to declare martial law, "then okay, I will withdraw" but if anything goes wrong and he declares martil law a second time around, "hindi na ako makinig maski kanino" (I won't listen to anyone anymore).

The military has said at least eight foreign fighters from Chechnya, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia were among the militants killed in the Marawi fighting. A total of 19 deaths have been registered among those displaced by the fighting, said Mujiv Hatama, the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who said severe dehydration from diarrhea was the main cause of death.

The larger numbers of rebel deaths and seized firearms in recent days "show that we are nearing the conclusion", military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo told reporters, adding that it remained hard to say when the siege would be completely crushed.

"It's the center of gravity".

Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said security had been tightened in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and the authorities there were on the lookout for suspicious characters who might "attempt to sow some confusion or sow terror".

Padilla said the military will no longer give any self-imposed deadlines on when the militants would be driven out after failing to meet previous ones they had set.

The President and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines warned soldiers to watch out for these terrorists because "mahirap kalabanin yun taong gustong mamatay" (it's hard to fight somebody who wants to die).

"All the in-and-out boats, we check it randomly".

"If we see something suspicious, even if they are riding jet skis or yachts, we will surely check that", he added.

"The President likewise made it clear that if and when there is another similar incident of rebellion, when the public safety requires it, the President and Commander-in-Chief would again declare martial law, and police power given to the executive by no less than our Constitution", Abella said.

Reyes said patrol boats and gunboats have been placed along "strategic areas". "So it has really been brutal so we have to allow him this kind of rest".

Duterte noted that the Maute Group took advantage of the situation by "bringing firearms surreptitiously" into Marawi City. The city itself has also been pounded by airstrikes.

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