Duterte declares Marawi City liberated from Maute-IS terrorists

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MARAWI CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared Marawi “liberated from terrorist influence,” and it was time to heal the wounded and rebuild the city of 200,000. This comes a day after the top two leaders of the terror group were killed, – Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group who was said to be the “emir,” or leader, of IS in Southeast Asia, and Omarkhayam Maute of Lanao del Sur’s Maute terrorist clan.

Despite the declaration of victory agaist terror influence, fighting continues. Deputy commander Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. said, “We are going to get them very soon. We’re making sure no hostages and fighters are left.” Accordingly, there are still 20 to 30 terrorists left, including foreign fighters, and they have 20 hostages, including women and children.

Malacanang has called on the remaining terrorists to surrender. In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said , ” “With terrorist leaders gone, we call on all fighters to cease further resistance and violence and return to the road of peace. This is also the call of our Muslim leaders, our imams, ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), MNLF (More National Liberation Front), MILF (More Islamic Liberation Front) chiefs, and the leaders of Muslim nations and this is the plea of your families, friends and communities,” he said.

Speaking to The Associated Press (AP), Gen. Eduardo Año said Mr. Duterte’s statement meant the threat from the terrorists, who occupied Marawi for five months, was substantially over. “They’re leaderless and they have no more organization,” the Armed Forces chief of staff said.