By Jaime Laude
MANILA, Philippines - The Islamic State-inspired Maute group of extremists are abandoning their weapons and blending in with the civilian evacuees to escape Marawi City, the military said yesterday.
Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesman of Joint Task Force Marawi, said the militants are getting desperate to avoid government forces closing in on what remains of their stronghold.
“After the series of arrests of alleged Maute terrorists, including the parents of the Maute brothers who led the attack in Marawi City, hopeless terrorists have chosen to abandon their firearms and blend with the civilian evacuees who are escaping from ground zero,” Herrera said.
He added the militants are using their familiarity of the terrain to their advantage in slipping out from the area of operations.
Security forces, however, are well aware of the tactic and have formed a defensive ring around the area where the militants are holding out to prevent their escape.
“The authorities assure the people that with the combined strength of the security forces and other government agencies, these terrorists have nowhere to hide,” Herrera said.
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