No immediate homecoming for Marawi folk once conflict ends

An armored personnel carrier passes along the highway in Pantar, Lanao del Norte on the way to Marawi City on Tuesday, 11 July 2017. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/11 July) — Evacuees from this besieged city are unlikely to be permitted to return to their homes soon after the military drives out the Islamic State-inspired Maute militants, an official said.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the displaced residents will have to wait until the military clears the city of improvised explosives and unexploded ordnance.

“Safety for the residents is our primary concern,” Hataman said.

He said the government will not fix a time table for the return of the residents.

He said it could take six months or more depending on the outcome of the ongoing fighting between government forces and the Maute gunmen.

The governor said the military voiced concerns that the attackers might leave behind hundreds of improvised explosive devices among the rubble of the city.

He added Philippine Air Force warplanes dropped hundreds of bombs and rockets into the city since May 25.

“A single tank of Gasul (liquefied petroleum gas) can be an improvised bomb left behind to hurt the residents,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)