By Jaime Laude
Military sees sharp rise in number of slain civilians
MANILA, Philippines - The decapitated bodies of five civilians have been found in Marawi City in an area previously occupied by the Maute group, the military said yesterday, warning the number of residents killed by extremist “atrocities” could rise sharply as troops retake more ground.
The discovery of the five victims among 17 bodies retrieved would be the first evidence that civilians trapped in besieged Marawi City were decapitated during the five-week stand by militants loyal to the Islamic State (IS) group, as some who escaped the city had previously reported.
Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia of the Western Mindanao Command said the troops found the five decapitated among 17 civilians in Barangay Gadungan previously under control of the terrorists.
“Government troops, together with policemen, elements of the Bureau of Fire Protection and civilian volunteers recovered at around 11:40 a.m. yesterday 17 cadavers while conducting retrieval operations in Barangay Gadungan,” Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla reported.
Troops also retrieved the bodies of two foreign looking militants somewhere in the battle zone.
“They resemble Middle Easterners,” Padilla said.
Padilla could not say, however, how many foreign fighters are actually involved in the Marawi conflict.
“We don’t have any documents as basis for the existence of all these foreigners except information that have been coming in from various sources,” he said.
Padilla said the military got hold of footage showing the terrorists carrying out executions.
However, the death toll arising from these killings was not yet included in the official figure on civilians killed, which currently stands at 27, he said.
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