MANILA, Philippines -- Eleven more members of the terrorist Maute Group were killed in skirmishes with government forces, bringing the enemy's death toll in the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City to 502, the Philippine military said Tuesday.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokeswomen of the military Western Mindanao Command and Joint Task Force Marawi, said the feat meant that troops were drawing closer to liberating the city.
"They were killed in the main battle area ... They were killed in one day (Monday) by our troops who continue to move forward," said Petinglay.
Local military estimates placed the remaining enemy strength in Marawi to about 50 to 70 men, who are believed occupying some of the 500 structures that are still subject to clearing operations.
Petinglay said the Maute members continued to put up resistance against the advancing troops but this was not as strong as it was during the initial stage of the conflict, which broke out on May 23.
"They've planted IEDs (improvised explosive devices) as part of their resistance. They placed them (bombs) in areas where they think the troops will advance. They've laid a lot of bloody traps," she said.
The spokeswoman stressed that these IEDs were delaying the conclusion of the military campaign.
"We cleared only a few structures yesterday. There are more or less 500 buildings, structures still left for clearing. There are days when we are able to clear only five, sometimes 10. That actually depends on the enemy resistance, on the IEDs we see," she added.
She said the number of slain government troops and civilians remained at 114 and 45, respectively.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK