Search for 46 more unexploded bombs in Marawi’s Ground Zero continues

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 04 August) — The Task Force Builder continues to search for 46 more unexploded ordnance still buried deep in different sectors in Ground Zero or the Most Affected Area (MAA) two years after the Marawi siege.

In March the number of unexploded ordnance was 49. Housing Secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair Eduardo del Rosario had said this consisted of 100 to 500 pounder bombs.

On August 3 at around 11 a.m., assorted surface bombs like 105 projectiles,  M203 grenade launcher ammunitions, homemade bombs, 260 pounds and 110 pounds from the Philippine Air Force fighter  planes were  detonated in Ground Zero.

The Task Force Builder detonates unexploded ordnance composed of surface bombs such as M203 ammunition, two 105 milimeter warheads , 110 pounds and 260 pounds from fighter jets at Sector 2 of Marawi’s Ground Zero oR the Most Affected Area (MAA) shortly before noon on Saturday, 3 August 2019. Out of 70 recorded bombs dropped by fighter planes of the Philippine Air Force, 46 have yet to be retrieved two years after the siege. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

“The search will continue in coordination with Eddmarri Construction and the military while the debris clearing operation is going on,” TFB commander Col. Rene Sebastian said.

“The recovered UXO were fired from ISIS-Maute terrorists group  and some from the military and Philippine Air Force dropped during the battle airstrike,” he said.

Sebastian said displaced Marawi residents from Sector 1 of Ground Zero or the Most Affected Area (MAA) are now allowed to visit what remains of their former residences as the area has been cleared. In the other sectors, debris clearing and the search for more UXOs are still ongoing, he said.

But Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Jr., TFBM Field Officer Manager, reiterated the policy that only those who have permits secured from the city government of Marawi are allowed to visit their respective  places inside Sector 1.

Detonation of unexploded ordnance in Marawi City’s Ground Zero on 03 August 2019. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

Lt. Col. Elmer Oamil, 553rd Engineering Battalion commander, said they ensured the safety of civilians passing through the MAA and the outside area. He said the scheduled detonation was announced days before to prevent panic. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)