President Duterte takes up gun, shoots at Maute in Marawi visit

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Story updated to include statement of AFP Spokesperson Restituto Padilla.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 25) — President Rodrigo Duterte took up a troop position and shot twice at Maute targets, military officers said Friday.

The President, in full-battle gear and flak jacket, and wearing electronic ear muffs on his head, aimed his sniper rifle through a small opening inside a patrol base at a Maute target, photos provided by Malacañang showed.

In a news release, Malacanang said "Duterte also visited a temporary patrol base and even tried a sniper rifle and fired twice towards the direction of the terrorists."

Military officers told CNN Philippines that the President was given "a live target," referring to a Maute terrorist.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said Friday that the President "fired on enemy positions in the battle area."

"Based on the feedback of our troops on the ground, the President wanted to be on the front line," he said in the "Mindanao Hour" news briefing.

"Whether there was a target hit, he did not say," Padilla added.

Duterte was in Marawi City for a third time on August 24, but this was his first in the battle zone.

"He perhaps wanted to show our troops that he was one with them, every step of the way," Padilla said.

READ: Duterte visits main battle area in Marawi

The military on Wednesday said they were closing in on a handful of Maute gunmen, whose movements are now limited to half a square kilometer within Marawi City proper.

"Despite the imminent danger, Duterte instructed his convoy to stop outside the safe zone to inspect the devastation near ground zero and talked to the soldiers guarding the buildings used by the members of the Maute group during the early days of the fighting," Malacañang said.