ILIGAN CITY – Military aircrafts continue to bomb enemy targets in Marawi City where jihadists were holed out as security forces battled ISIS-affiliate Maute group and their armed supporters fighting for the establishment of a caliphate in the restive Muslim region of Mindanao.
Several houses, including one owned by a lawmaker, were blasted on Saturday as television crew members dangerously sneaked in Bangon, one of villages bombed by the air force. One villager, guiding journalists, said the bomb destroyed the house of a lawmaker. A video of the aftermath of the air strike was also uploaded on social media and it showed the house hit by the bomb still burning. “The village is empty. Everybody has evacuated. That house is also empty, but they still bombed it,” the guide said.
The Western Mindanao Command confirmed the air strikes and said it targeted Maute fighters hiding out in different houses and buildings there. “As fighting continues in Marawi, our units are constrained to launch airstrikes to identified specific targets occupied by the Maute/ISIS terrorist group. These terrorist atrocities continue sow terror and confusion even to non-combatant Muslims and Christians.” Said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.
He also sought the help of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and apologized to tens of thousands of people affected and displaced by the war. “Nais naming humingi ng paumanhin sa lahat ng mamamayang apektado, sa mga kapatid naming Muslim lalong lalo na sa mga miyembro ng MILF at MNLF, humihingi kami ng pang unawa sa pangyayari ngayon. Nawa’y magtulungan tayo sa mga panahong ito, at ating paigtingin ang samahang nabuo sa mga nakaraang mga pagsubok na ating nalampasan,” Galvez said.
He said troops will also be deployed in different mosques to protect Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.
Since the start of the violence, it was only on Saturday that authorities shut down cell sites in Marawi City and effectively cutting off mobile phones communications among ISIS fighters and their allies.