Strikes aimed at militants kill 11 Philippine soldiers

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 3, 2017

Tanks arrive at a military camp in Iligan, near the besieged Philippine city of Marawi, on Wednesday. "I'm sure the troops will do they best they can to accomplish the deadline", he said.

The removal of Brigadier-General Nixon Fortes as commander of the army brigade in Marawi City and his replacement with his deputy, Colonel Generoso Ponio, was not related to the battle that has raged in the city, the spokesman said.

"They are trapped, they are contained, they are in areas that they will never come up alive unless they surrender", Padilla said.

Padilla said the video indicates the extremists are fighting for survival.

The government of the Philippines has seen the situation with the jihadist insurgency on the island of Mindanao exacerbate as an airstrike against the militants has killed 11 government soldiers.

The death toll since Tuesday last week has risen to almost 100, which includes 16 civilians, 61 militants, 11 soldiers and four police officers, Fox News reported, citing The Associated Press. "We mourn the loss of 11 of our courageous harbingers of peace and the wounding of 7 others", AFP spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said in a separate press briefing.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced a 60-day period of martial law over all of Mindanao last week in response to the ISIS attack, urging residents to evacuate.

The wounded troops were brought to Cagayan De Oro for medical attention and there were no civilian casualties, said Lorenzana, who is also a martial law administrator in Mindanao.

Government forces expect to miss their deadline to eradicate the uprising by the end of Friday, defense officials said. Air strikes may also be suspended as militants will not be able to resist in a long time.

Mr. Lorenzana for his part said Maute still offers strong resistance despite intense attacks by pursuing government forces, adding that more troops were sent in the area "across the bridge from the city hall" because the place is "very hard to crack".

Security forces launched a raid to arrest Isnilon Hapilon - a Filipino militant on the US's list of most-wanted terror suspects.

At least 89 Islamist militants, 31 security forces and 19 civilians have been killed in the conflict, the Philippine military said Wednesday.

Reuters reports that a military spokesman specifically denied Fortes was removed due to his performance in the Marawi battle, which has now been raging for 11 days.

Authorities said they were taken by surprise when many gunmen emerged to protect Hapilon and then went on a rampage through Marawi.

The main Muslim rebel groups have signed accords with the government aimed at forging lasting peace, giving up their separatist ambitions in return for autonomy.

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