Gov’t forces call on Maute to surrender

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/24 July) — Calls for the ISIS-inspired Maute Gropu to surrender echoed in this city’s conflict zone on Monday.

“Surrender now! The government knows where you are hiding,” said a call aired through loudspeakers which can be heard among the ruins and gutted buildings.

“Your families are waiting for you,” it  continued.

Marines patrol a deserted street somewhere in Marawi City. Government forces are engaged in a bitter house-to-house battle with the ISIS-inspired Maute Group and its allies. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The taped broadcasts were aired in Meranaw, Tausug, Yakan and Maguindanao dialects that are spoken by Filipino Muslims.

The loudspeakers are placed in strategic areas along the battlefront in Marawi City.

Just below the loudspeakers, Philippine Marines officers, unmindful of its noise, bunched together studying a map on a table.

The Marines are receiving reports from the field on the location of the gunmen.

Staring at the map, an officer gave the coordinates to his men who were manning 81mm mortars nearby.

Mortars were then fired at the supposed positions of the militants, a scene that has become familiar in the city in the past two months.

“These loudspeakers are good psychological weapons. They are very effective,” Marine Lt. Col. Bill Pasia said.

“If our mortars are not effective, these loudspeakers are a big help persuading the ISIS-Maute militants to surrender,” he added.

Pasia claimed that a number of militants especially those who were only forced to fight by the militants surrendered after listening for sometime to the broadcasts.

But he could not give the exact number of the rebels who surrendered saying only their intelligence officers knew.

Pasia said the calls aired through loudspeakers costing some P8,000 each, worked during the 2013 Zamboanga standoff.

“A number of the terrorists also surrendered in Zamboanga after listening to the broadcasts,” he said.

He said the broadcasts included instructions on how the militants can surrender without getting shot by government troops.

He said they also have taped broadcasts for civilians trapped inside the city who wanted to get out. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)