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Westmincom: Army, Marines retake 8 more areas in Marawi

The military had retaken eight areas in Marawi City by late Monday and is now pushing out militants from three villages where they are looting houses, officials said.

Security forces are now in full control of Barangays Matampay, Basak Malulut, Barrio Green, Bangon and Saduc, the peripheries of the Mindanao State University campus and the Amai Pakpak Hospital and the Matampay area.

Major Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command said Army soldiers and Marines are constrained from rushing clearing operations in areas where terrorists are still hiding because they might use trapped residents as human shields.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines, claimed earlier Monday that government forces still have full control of Marawi "except for certain areas of the city."

"We have complete control of the city, by the way, contrary to what is coming out in social media and other information, perhaps some fake news," the military spokesman said.

"It is not true that half of the city is controlled by the rebels. Totally untrue. The armed forces and the police and all our forces are in complete control of the city, except for certain areas of the city where they continue to hold," he added.

More than 30 villagers have escaped from residential areas amid clearing operations the past two days that were punctuated by intermittent exchanges of gunfire between soldiers and combined members of the Maute terror group and the fanatical Abu Sayyaf led by Isnilon Hapilon

Hapilon, who hails from Lantawan town in Basilan, and his men, joined ranks early this year with the Maute terror group, also known as the Dawlah Islamiya Philippines, or DIP.

The Maute group boasts of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The Abu Sayyaf started as the Harakatul Al-Islamiya in the 1990s, founded by Abdurajak Janjalani, of mixed Tausug and Ilonggo descent, who, like Hapilon, was also born and raised in Basilan.

Janjalani studied Islamic theology in secular schools in Tripoli, Libya, in Damascus, Syria and in Peshawar, Pakistan. He was killed in 1997 by a police team in an encounter in a seaside village at the border of then Isabela and Lamitan towns in Basilan province.

Basilan was to become a component province of ARMM via a vote by local registered voters in a 2001 referendum.

Isabela, which remained under Region 9 after residents voted against its inclusion in the ARMM, and Lamitan are now both chartered cities.

Lamitan is now the administrative and political capital of Basilan, one of five provinces of ARMM, which also covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, and the islands of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Curfew strictly enforced

Meanwhile, Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr., a senior member of the provincial peace and order council, told The STAR on Monday that the evening curfew authorities started imposing in Marawi City on May 24 will strictly be enforced in all barangays.

Adiong said only security forces can roam the streets in Marawi City from 8:00 p.m. until before dawn the next day.

"That will be enforced strictly," Adiong said.

[Source: By John Unson, Philstar, Manila, 29May17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 30May17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.