(MindaNews/ 05 June) — Humanitarian efforts to rescue civilians trapped in the embattled city of Marawi were stalled Monday due to the fighting between government troops and the Maute Group, aid agencies said.
Abel Moya of Pakigdait, co-convenor of Saving Lives Movement said the military is reluctant to allow humanitarian convoys to Marawi especially in areas where there is still intense fighting.
Moya said a humanitarian convoy to rescue trapped residents in Marawi city has yet to leave Iligan City this afternoon, and is still awaiting approval from the military.
“We are still negotiating with the military. We cannot leave unless they give their approval,” Moya told MindaNews.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported more than 1,000 people may still be trapped inside the embattled city.
Heidi Anicete, ICRC head of communications said figures of trapped civilians vary from one government agency to another.
Anicete said figures from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao have 2,647 individuals still trapped in the city while the Lanao del Sur provincial government had it at more than 1,000.
She said included in the people trapped in the city are Catholic priest, Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub and churchworkers of the Prelature of Marawi.
Anicete said an estimated 47,116 families or 235,580 persons have fled Marawi City since the fighting started last May 23.
A humanitarian convoy that entered Marawi last Sunday managed to rescue 100 residents before intense fighting aborted the mission.
“That was a very risky mission. We only had a window time of four hours,” Dr. Saff Dipatuan who headed the convoy said.
Dipatuan said they used megaphones to urge the residents to come out from the buildings where they were trapped.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the setting up of a “peace corridor” to allow for safe passage of trapped residents. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)