MARAWI CITY – Security forces had killed at least 11 foreign militants along with over 600 local ISIS fighters in fierce clashes in the war-ravaged city of Marawi in southern Philippines, officials said Monday.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces in Western Mindanao, said some 150 soldiers also died from the fighting since May 23 when militants occupied Marawi and declared it a province of the Islamic State.
“Despite its losses, the government will never concede to lawless elements and will even further its efforts to put an end to these groups who threaten our freedom and democracy,” said Medina, who inspected troops at the battle field over the weekend.
He did not say whether the enemy casualties were based on body counts or intelligence reports. The identities of the foreigners remain unknown, although previous military statements claimed some of them were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
While in Marawi, Medina was also briefed by the 1st Marine Brigade and Naval Special Operations Group on the progress of the military operations against militants, who are still holding dozens of civilian hostages, including a Catholic priest and church workers.
Details of the security briefing were not made public, but the navy headquarters in Zamboanga City said “Fleet-Marine operations in the city and other matters pertaining to the troops’ efforts to liberate Marawi and its residents were discussed.”
Medina also visited wounded soldiers in hospitals in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and had meals with soldiers.
Last week, the military deployed 102 female soldiers and policewomen to help local efforts in addressing the needs of families displaced by the crisis. The contingent is composed of 40 policewomen and 62 army members – mostly Muslims – who will be assigned to different evacuation centers in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and in Iligan City.
They all underwent special training on gender and development and studied modules on cultural sensitivity prior to their deployment and will also assist in the many aspects of recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi. They were trained in Psycho Social Intervention and Peace Education to assist in the implementation of programs to help the evacuees. (Mindanao Examiner)
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