61 terrorists killed, 124 civilians rescued in Marawi clearing ops

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(CNN Philippines, May 28) — Sixty-one terrorists were killed and 124 civilians were assisted and rescued from Marawi City, in an update from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Sunday.

42 of the terrorists were killed in firefight, while the remaining 19 deaths were confirmed by eyewitnesses.

"Our forces are working overtime to hasten the restoration of the rule of law and Marawi's return to normalcy," AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a statement.

The AFP also confirmed a total of 19 civilian deaths as of Sunday afternoon.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, the civilian body count included four men, three women and a child allegedly killed by terrorists, and found 300 meters away from the Mindanao State University.

In a separate incident, eight other people were found dead in a ravine along the Iligan-Marawi road on Sunday morning.

Witnesses said the victims, who were fleeing to Iligan City at 6 a.m., were reportedly asked to recite Muslim prayers. Those who failed to recite them were taken by the armed men.

Read more: Eight bodies found in Iligan-Marawi border

The AFP added that as of May 26, 11 military and four policemen were killed in action, and 39 are wounded in firefight.

The AFP, along with the Philippine National Police, also denied reports of checkpoints being conducted by uniformed elements without badges or identifications.

"Checkpoints follow strict protocols and are strictly complied with. These reports if true, may be of unauthorized armed elements and should be discretely documented and reported. We have issued orders to our forces to ascertain these reports and deal with it," Padilla said.

Military presence is heightened in Iligan City and Marawi City after President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Evacuees' concerns addressed

The Office of Civil Defense led the Command Center created in Iligan City to deal with the expected increase in the number of evacuees from Marawi City.

Other government agencies that form part of the Center including the Social Welfare Department, Health Department and the Department of Interior and Local Government have coordinated the needs of more than 42,000 evacuees.

The DSWD of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said they have enough supplies for evacuees, but are still figuring out transportation to bring the goods to Marawi City and nearby evacuation centers.

Dr.  Ray Sagge from the Iligan City Local Health Office said many of the evacuees showed symptoms of stress depression from their experience during the Marawi clash.

On Monday, the Local Health Office will reactivate their mental-health and psycho-social cluster which previously gave counseling to victims of Typhoon Sendong, which hit Iligan City in December 2011 and killed 490.

Security is still tight in neighboring Davao City as martial law in Mindanao is still in effect in the entire island of Mindanao.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday said the local government is implementing a hold and secure protocol to "prevent violence from coming in to Davao City."

Read more: Residents flee Marawi City amid clashes

CNN Philippines' Correspondents Ruth Cabal, David Santos, Ina Andolong, and Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.