Clearing ops, AFP priority after Maute stragglers’ death

MANILA -- With nothing more untoward occurring in Marawi's main battle area, military units are now focused on clearing the war-torn city of unexploded munitions and explosive materials.

This is to ensure that government agencies tasked to rehabilitate and reconstruct Marawi would not be impeded in their work, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, Col. Edgard Arevalo, said Thursday.

"We are now focused on clearing the main battle area so that we can turn it over to (agencies) tasked for reconstruction and rehabilitation works," he said.

A total of 920 terrorists linked to the Maute Group were killed in the five-month battle against the ISIS-inspired group that besieged Marawi in late May.

Fighting ended on Oct. 23 with the death of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, one of the Maute Group founders, but 12 more stragglers were recently killed in clearing operations in the main battle area.

With this development, Arevalo urged the remaining terrorists, if there are any left, to just surrender peacefully as further resistance would be futile.

He warned that those who will continue to resist will be dealt with harshly like their companions who insisted on fighting it out with government troops.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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