MANILA-- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo AAo has reminded troops engaged against the remaining Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City to take their time and focus on the job to avoid massive casualties, AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo, who was with the military chief during his visit to the Marawi front lines Wednesday, said.
"(The AFP chief's) instructions to the troops is to focus on the job, as he sees the Maute Group resistance not lasting much longer, and execute the (battle) plan well and be mindful of the timeline but do not look at it as deadline," he added in Filipino.
No specifics were given on the AFP timeline to decisively defeat the Maute Groupin Marawi City.
"(And) also, (the AFP chief told troops to) look at the timeline as a time frame for the mission. I do not want you (troopers in Marawi) trying to beat deadline at the expense of many soldiers dying in the process because of the pressure," Arevalo added.
As of this posting, an estimated 502 Maute Group terrorists have been killed, 114 from government troops and 45 civilians.
Also seized were 592 firearms. Rescued were 1,723 civilians. An estimated 900 soldiers were also wounded in the bitter house-to-house fighting, the deadliest feature of urban warfare.
Sniping, use of improvised explosive devices and bombs are the cause of most of the casualties sustained by government troops in almost three months of fighting.
Fighting in the area has been raging since May 23 when government forces made a botched attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS "emir" Isnilon Hapilon.
Source: Philippine News Agency