Surrender ‘feelers’ from Islamic State-linked rebels in Marawi
According to the military, an estimated 50 to 60 Islamic State-linked militants still in the besieged city of Marawi, have sent “feelers” that they are prepared to surrender after three-and-a-half months of fighting. “There are feelers. Definitely, there are feelers,” spokesman Colonel Romeo Brawner told a news conference on Monday. Philippine forces have used loudspeakers urging militants to give themselves up, that their lives would be spared if they disarm, change out of their black clothes and walk to a designated location. Colonel Brawner said “Hopefully, we will have surrenders within the next days” . The surrender offer came after a renewed, if short-lived, effort by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to start back-channel talks with militants, with a former Marawi mayor Omar Solitario Ali to have acted as an intermediary. Pres Duterte on Saturday ruled out the possibility of allowing rebels to flee in exchange for the release of dozens of hostages.
Two soldiers were killed at the weekend, taking to 147 the number of security forces killed in the Marawi conflict. About 655 militants and 45 civilians have been killed, according to the army.