Government forces on Monday announced that they have taken the Barangay Mapandi neighborhood in the Islamic City of Marawi, which has served as one of the bastions of holdout elements of the terrorist Maute Group, even as the whereabouts of captive Catholic priest Chito Suganob remains unclear.
The fall of Mapandi from enemy hands came about after more than two months of intense fighting.
Mapandi is one of four remaining redoubts still held by the terrorists, who have strategically emplaced sniper nests and booby traps to resist the government security forces.
Capt, Jo-Ann Petinglay, Spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi, said, “Mapandi is one of their significant areas and staging points, one of the most difficult objectives in this theater. Last week, our Marines were successful in wresting the place from the enemy.”
Troops of the First Marine Brigade could be seen in a photograph with the Philippine flag flying in the background in Mapandi.
The count so far is 493 of the enemy killed in this standoff.
They are believed to hold between 50 and 80 civilian hostages. The military was also careful to note that there is, as yet, “no proof of life” regarding Fr. Suganob.
On the government side, the toll has been 114 lives, so far.
Many of the deaths have been due to improvised explosive devices and booby traps planted by the Maute Group’s jihadist fighters.
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