Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra in phone interview with GMA News TV 27 anchor Mike Enriquez bared Thursday early morning that the group holding on in his city is a composite force and its name is “Dawlah Islamiyah”.
“It is composed of Maute, BIFF and Abu Sayaff groups,”Gandamra said.
He added that the DI terrorists are still present in his city, scattered in different areas and would sometimes have their guns rung up ” just for the sake of sending a message that they are still here.”
Since Wednesday evening, he said he had not heard of exchange of gunfires.
“Mostly houses and establishments have been evacuated by their owners but there’s somebody who is left to guard each house,” Gandamra relayed from the City Hall where he has been staying since the start of the siege in the city Tuesday.
He said he is ready to defend the city hall from being taken over by the armed group.
The Maute group is also called DI, which just surfaced in public about mid this month. It is said to be an ISIS-inspired group.
The military operation has been going since Tuesday afternoon, and as of Thursday noon, 1st Infantry Batallion spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Arr Herrera said in media interview that there are between 30 to 40 Maute terrorists they have still to flush out from three barangays in the city- Basa, Bangan and Gadungon.
He said there were 13 killed from enemy side and 5 government troopers and “no collateral damage” in more than two days of fighting.
He added they are making surgical operations and “are flushing them out” as he asked residents to help the soldiers in their drive to end it earlier.
The terrorists kept on switching positions in buildings and changed clothings to deceive the military, Herrera said.
Meanwhile, Maranao author Norodin Alonto Lucman posted again Thursday morning on his Facebook that the military can retake the city anytime but the problem is water, electricity and food and the possibility of looting is high in abandoned houses and establishments.
“The Army has to move in to prevent widespread looting and summary killings by desperate ISIS fighters, some of them (are) foreigners,” Lucman posted.
The city seems turned now into ghost town cum battlefield with the heavily armed terrorists continuing to hold on elevated positions in various areas in the city. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)