Cleared structures in Marawi still unsafe

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 25 July) – Buildings and houses in this city which have been cleared of Maute gunmen are still unsafe as they may still contain unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices, a military official said in a press briefing here Tuesday.

Part of downtown Marawi City after an air strike. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel A. Rey, commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, said government forces have cleared some 600 structures at the city’s conflict zone.

But he said these structures were yet to be cleared of explosives which the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group may have left behind.

During the briefing the military showed a video footage of an IED discovered inside a building.

Rey said that in some buildings in a cleared area west of Agus River, employees of business establishments who returned to retrieve documents and equipment found a number of grenades.

He added that after clearing the structures of explosives they will start retrieving cadavers.

He said they are looking for a permanent burial site [for bodies that would be retrieved] because Islamic practice forbids remains from being transferred once they are buried.

(As a general rule, Islam prohibits the digging up and transfer of buried remains. But there are exceptions like when a dead body was buried in a graveyard of non-Muslims.)

In the same briefing, Capt. Joanne Petinglay, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi, said government forces have suffered 109 fatalities as of Monday, the 63rd day since fighting erupted in the city.

She added that some soldiers in the field have contracted bacterial and viral diseases like dengue, a mosquito-borne ailment. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)