MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/28 August)— Government troops killed five suspected militants reportedly trying to reinforce the Islamic State-inspired Maute gunmen fighting in Marawi City on Monday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez said the slain militants were part of a 10-man group trying to sneak into Marawi on board two motorized boats around 2:30 am dawn.
Galvez said soldiers engaged the militants in a three-hour firefight killing five of them.
He said the troops recovered the bodies of their slain adversaries.
He said the troops were still searching for the remaining five terrorists and recovered an M16 rifle and a motorized boat.
“The terrorists are trying to sneak in some reinforcements to help their beleaguered companions in Marawi,” he added.
Galvez said that by sending reinforcements in small batches, the militants were hoping to evade Army and police units guarding Lake Lanao which has a surface area of 340 square kilometers.
Lake Lanao is the country’s second largest lake.
Galvez said the remaining 50 to 60 Maute gunmen in Marawi have stepped up use of improvised explosive devices and some hostages they have pressed into fighting the government troops.
He said the fighting is now concentrated in some 400 houses and structures in the villages near the lake.
“We have cleared 32 buildings yesterday and we suffered no casualties in the past 10 days. We see this as a weakening of their resistance,” Galvez said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)