Military retakes Marawi’s commercial district

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sept) – The military said on Friday they have taken control of Barangay Banggolo, this city’s commercial district, after heavy fighting.

Smoke from an exploding bomb dropped from a Philippine Air Force OV10 plane is seen from the countryside in Marawi City on Friday (1 Sept 2017). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Capt. Joane Petinglay, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force Marawi, said there is still occasional fighting in the commercial district but soldiers have taken full control of the bridge linking the west side of the city to Banggolo.

Petinglay, however, said the battle to retake Banggolo on Thursday came with a heavy price – three soldiers were killed while 52 others were wounded in the 12-hour fighting.

“Many of our casualties were hit by improvised explosive devices left by the ISIS-Maute gunmen in the buildings,” Petinglay said.

She said the soldiers clearing the buildings in Banggolo suffered most.

“The ISIS-Maute gunmen know fully well that our soldiers will have to enter the buildings to clear them. So they left as many explosive devices they could make,” Petinglay added.

Military officers on the ground said the terrorists got hold of explosives from unexploded bombs dropped from Philippine Air Force gunships making daily bomb runs to dislodge the Maute Group.

Capt. Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro-based Fourth Infantry Division, said eight soldiers who were seriously wounded were rushed from Marawi to the Army hospital inside the 4ID headquarters. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)