AFP: Marawi clearing operations ongoing

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Marawi City (CNN Philippines, May 25) — The Armed Forces said clearing operations in Marawi City are currently ongoing, following the attack of terror group Maute last Tuesday.

Army First Division Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said in a briefing Thursday that clearing operations are now contained in just three barangays. He added there are still no reported collateral damage yet on the part of civilians.

"Continuous pa rin yung clearing operations natin…gumagalaw din yung kalaban para magkaroon sila ng diversionary attack," Herrera said in a separate press conference.

[Translation: Our clearing operations are continuous…the enemies are still moving to create a diversionary attack.]

READ: Residents flee Marawi City amid clashes

Local terrorists were also reported to be ransacking the National Food Authority office in the city for supplies.

"Nakikita natin na pinned down na yung Maute, especially yung local terrorist group. Umiikot sila para lang ma-disrupt yung movement natin…diversion lang para dun lang tayo mag-swing," he said.

[Translation: We see that the Maute are now pinned down, especially the local terrorist group. They are roving just to disrupt our movement…it was just a diversion so we will swing our operations.]

He also said the movements are normal so as to disrupt the troops' operations. Herrera added Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon has been reportedly sighted in the area.

He added 26 members of the Maute group have been killed, leaving the remaining terrorists in the area at around 25. Herrera also said 39 members of the government forces have been wounded in action.

As of 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, the Western Mindanao Command said seven soldiers and two policemen have been killed.

Herrera then emphasized the troops' continuing fight to eliminate the threats in Marawi, and commended the local communities for their cooperation.

"We will continue to press, we will continue to find, fix and destroy the remaining local terrorist group," he said. "Nagpapasalamat kami sa communities kasi tuloy-tuloy yung pagbibigay nila ng information sa atin. In fact, yung operations na ginawa natin sa kanila ay galing sa mga information na galing sa kanila through sa hotline natin."

[Translation: We are grateful for the communities because they continuously give us information. In fact, the operations we conducted in their area are based on the information they gave us through our hotline.]

Meanwhile, residents from the attacked area have taken refuge in Iligan City, which is 37.9 km northeast of Marawi City.

READ: 120 civilians rescued in Marawi City — AFP

Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia said they remain vigilant for everyone's security.

"My primordial concern is the safety of my people here in Iligan City, baka sumama yung members ng Maute group sa evacuees," Regencia said.