Soldiers of the Philippines (Source: www.bbc.com)
Hanoi (VNA) – The government armed forces will liberate the southern Marawi city in a few days, announced General Eduardo Ano, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in a televised press conference on October 16.
Meanwhile, the armed forces are still looking for the Malaysian terrorist Mahmud bin Ahmad, who led and sponsored the siege in Marawi city, said Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the same day.
According to Lorenzana, after the fighting ends, the Philippine Government will focus on rebuilding Marawi city. He also warned that all major cities in Mindanao region could be militants’ target, therefore all government security forces will stay vigilant to prevent their attacks.
Earlier, two remaining leaders of the Islamic militants in southern Philippines were killed. They were Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and Omarkhayam Maute.
Since the attack of gunmen who pledged allegiance to the self-claimed Islamic State (IS) in Marawi city last May, 822 militants, 162 government soldiers and 47 civilians were killed. More than 1,700 soldiers and police officers were injured.
Philippine authorities said there are about 30 gunmen remaining in a small residential area near Lanao lake, including 10 foreign ones, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia.
President Duterte previously extended the martial law in the southern province of Mindanao, of which Marawi is a part, to the end of this year to facilitate the army’s activities against militants.-VNA