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Philippines: 54 Buildings Retaken From Maute In Marawi

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Buildings were used as strongholds by 'Maute terrorist snipers', according to military

Government troops have retaken 54 buildings occupied by Daesh-linked fighters in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao, the military said Wednesday.

"We have taken over control of at least 54 buildings used as strongholds by Maute terrorist snipers," Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokeswoman of the Western Mindanao Command told Anadolu Agency.

The buildings including high-rise structures and school institutions were overrun by the Maute terrorists when they laid siege to Marawi City's main commercial area on May 23, Petinglay said.

Some of the buildings also served as machine gun nests and vantage positions of Maute terrorists and criminal gangs, she added.

GMA News reported that combat clearing operations continued to finish off the terrorists and to regain control of several portions in the city's main area still being used as defensive positions by Maute, quoting Joint Task Force Marawi spokesman Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera.

Herrera said that 800 buildings in Marawi had yet to be cleared from Maute terrorists and that around 80 of them were still in the city's main battle area.

Airstrikes and ground assaults are also ongoing to flush out the remaining terrorists from the buildings within the city's business district, he added.

The military believes Abdullah Maute is still in command of the remaining Maute members, while they have yet to confirm the location of Isnilon Hapilon, the appointed "emir" or leader of Daesh in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said an estimated 300 civilians were still trapped in areas held by Maute Group in Marawi City where fighting is now in its 51st day, Philippine News Agency reported.

"There are estimates (of) about 300 or more who are still unaccounted for," Padilla said, citing reports of the Marawi City local government.

The unaccounted civilians include residents who are still hiding in their homes or missing persons who may be hostages of the terrorists, he added.

"As of now, we have not gone into the interiors of previously held enemy areas and once we do that we may get the surprise of our lives and find numbers of cadavers left who have been killed by the enemy," he said.

Latest figures of casualties from the Maute Group are placed at 381, civilians at 39 and government troops at 90. Seized Maute Group firearms are placed at 461 and rescued civilians at 1,723.

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