By Jaime Laude
MANILA, Philippines - Troops have cleared almost 90 percent of Marawi City where gunmen of the Maute group have been fending off security forces, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said yesterday.
Padilla reiterated the call for the Maute group to surrender while there is still time as troops are preparing to rescue the civilians still trapped in the city.
“We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity,” Padilla said.
Padilla said 960 civilians have been rescued, and an estimated 1,000 residents remain trapped. The dead include 89 militants, 19 civilians and 21 government forces.
Six policemen were reported still missing since the firefight with the Maute group broke out last week, the Philippine National Police added.
Padilla said eight militants surrendered and they provided what he described as “very valuable intelligence” during questioning,
On the other hand, a video of a Catholic priest taken hostage is being assessed by experts, he added.
Padilla said the video seems authentic, but the Rev. Teresito Suganob appeared to be speaking under duress and the militants are apparently using the video for propaganda.
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