Marawi civilian casualty number expected to rise ‘dramatically’ – military

BODY BAGS. Rescuers in Marawi City lay a pile of cadaver bags at the back of a pickup truck Wednesday (28 June 2017). They were able to retrieve 12 skulls and enough human bones to fill 17 cadaver bags from Barangay Lilod Madaya. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 28 June) – The military said on Wednesday civilian casualty figures in the ongoing fight here could rise “dramatically” after more bodies were retrieved from the war-torn city.

Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Ranao, said 17 more bodies believed to be civilians were retrieved by a group of soldiers and volunteers in Barangay Gadungan in Marawi City.

Herrera said they believed all of the victims were killed by the Maute Group when they seized the city last May 23.

“Most of the bodies were already in the state of decomposition,” he told reporters.

This brought the number of civilian deaths in the month-long crisis from 27 to 44.

Herrera said they fear more bodies will be found when the soldiers will finally clear the city of the Maute Group.

On the 36th day of the fighting Wednesday, intense ground fire can be heard in the city.

TV footages were able to capture black-clad armed men running between buildings in the eastern part of the city.

Last Tuesday, Philippine Air Force OV-10 war planes bombed the area near Barangay Padian.

“The IS-Maute are firing back lesser each day. It was so unlike the first week when they were everywhere,” said retired Army Col. Pendatun Guro, whose building’s top floor provided journalists a visual insight to the fierce fighting. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)