Islamists kill 13 Philippine marines in wartorn Marawi city

Posted June 10, 2017

A Philippine military spokesman also said there were "strong indications" that the Maute brothers Omar and Abdullah, who founded the militant group named after them, were dead.

According to Army Spokesperson Restituto Padilla, General Eduardo Ano, the chief of staff, said that by Monday national flags will be waved freely in "every corner of Marawi".

"At the request of the government of the Philippines, US special operations forces are assisting the AFP with ongoing operations in Marawi that helps AFP commanders on the ground in their fight against Maute and ASG militants", the spokesperson said.

The spokesman for the army's 1st Infantry Division said that about 30 to 40 militants used civilians as human shields and positioned themselves in the city's many mosques.

Forty other marines were wounded, he said.

At least 20 civilians and around 138 terrorists have also been killed, the government said.

It was among the heaviest fighting seen in mainly Muslim Marawi as the air force battered parts of the city with strikes to support ground troops.

Filipino forces, meanwhile, captured on Friday the mother of two top militant leaders leading the siege.

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Herrera said Farhana has been transported away from Marawi City to a "safe place", and is now currently undergoing investigation.

Maute's husband, Cayamora, was arrested at a police checkpoint in the southern city of Davao on Tuesday.

Temporary martial law has been declared for 60 days in Mindanao, one of the three main islands in the Philippines.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the designated administrator of martial law, has ordered the arrest of almost 200 militants, politicians and other suspected civilian backers of the unprecedented uprising in Marawi, the mosque-studded heartland of Islamic faith in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

Washington deployed special forces soldiers to Mindanao in 2002 to train and advise Philippine units then fighting Abu Sayyaf militants.

Tens of thousands have fled Marawi, which is the Catholic country's most important Muslim city, as the fighting ripped through residential neighbourhoods, with more than 200,000 displaced people now living in precarious conditions and vulnerable to deadly health risks, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday.

Marine Commandant Maj Gen Emmanuel Salamat confirmed the casualties to GMA News website on Saturday (June 10), saying that government troops and militants from the Maute group had been involved in a 16-hour clash in Barangay Lilod Madaya that began at around 3.30am on Friday.