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Military generals declare "total victory" in Marawi

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Top military generals in Mindanao on Saturday declared a "total victory" over the Daesh-inspired group in Marawi City, as troops continued to push towards few remaining terrorists defensive positions to finish them off.

Brig. General Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Task Force Marawi, spoke of victories during a send-off ceremony of the 10th Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT10) in Marawi.

“I would like to say it’s already done. It’s a complete and total victory for the troops," he said.

“You showed the determination to finish this campaign,” he told the troops. "In the past five months, you started with some 3,000 structures or buildings to be cleared and you were the first to reach the 'finish line and the first that reached the final objective."

The MBLT10 was behind the clearing of three bridges that connect the western part of Marawi city to the main battle area where the business center is located. It also secured the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus against the Maute fighters.

Pamonag described their mission in Marawi as one of the "most successful urban battles" that they have participated in the recent Philippine history since World War II saying that it is a test of determination.

Earlier in the day of Saturday, Western Mindanao Command chief Army Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., who inspected troops in Marawi and sent off the troops of 1st IB and MBLT10 back to Luzon, expressed confidence that Marawi will be declared totally free from the Daesh-linked terrorist-initiated war that will finally end on its 152nd day.

"We would be able to clear it by Sunday, where armed will end and guns totally silent," he said.

According to Galvez, the operations are now focused only on a small area of enemy position inside the main battle area where the few remaining terrorists along with their three to four male hostages are hiding, but still resisting.

"There were still hostages who needed to be rescued, which was why soldiers were still not rushing things up," he added.

Aside from the Maute stragglers, Galvez said the troops were also tracking down the three sons of slain emir of Daesh in Southeast Asia Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon who were with the Daesh foreign militants who have the potential to continue the Daesh caliphate threat in the country.

Galvez identified one of Malaysian Daesh terrorists as Amin Bacu and an Indonesian as Ibno Kayin who are still resisting military's might along with few remaining militants, now the target of the troops' finishing touches to finally declare the Marawi City siege over Sunday.

The five foreigners have reportedly been instrumental to facilitating the movement of foreign fighters in Marawi and have taken over the Maute group leadership following the death of Hapilon, Omarkhayam Maute, and Mahmud Ahmad, another Daesh Malaysian militant.

Galvez said rehabilitation, including retrieval of the dead, would start after the end of hostilities is declared.

The Philippines estimates the rebuilding of areas battered by months of government airstrikes, which displaced hundreds of thousands of Marawi residents, could cost at least P50 billion ($971 million).

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier visited Marawi and declared its liberation from the influence of terrorists who suffered 897 deaths.

Earlier, the military said since May 23, the number of military and police casualties had reached 165 while civilian casualties was placed at 47. About 1,777 civilians, who were either held as hostages or trapped in the crossfire, had been rescued since hostilities broke out. Hader Glang




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