Philippines: 5 Maute terrorists killed in Marawi clash
At least five Maute militants were killed Tuesday in fresh fighting with government security forces in Marawi City on Mindanao island.
Members of the Marines and the Special Operations Group assaulted a lair of the terrorists in the main battle area, triggering a 30-minute firefight.
Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the five slain militants had opted to continue with their terrorist ways and refused to heed the call to surrender.
Two bodies, high-powered firearms and a pair of night vision googles were recovered by soldiers while the bodies of the other three militants were dragged away by terrorists who torched a building as they withdrew.
Other personal effects of the slain terrorists were also seized by troops.
The latest fighting in Marawi broke out a few hours after President Rodrigo Duterte visited the main battle area.
Last week, the military disclosed that some Maute terrorists had indicated their desire to surrender to the military after three and a half months of fighting.
Duterte vowed fair treatment to the militants still holed up in Marawi if they surrendered without harming hostages.
He said the only way for the terrorists to leave Marawi alive is to surrender to government forces.
"If they surrender, we will try them, give them due process, and provide them with a lawyer," MindaNews quoted Duterte saying.
The military said it would spare the lives of those who would surrender, lay down their firearms, change out of their black clothes and walk to a designated location.
More than 600 Maute terrorists and 147 troops have been killed in the ongoing conflict in Marawi city. At least 45 civilians have been slain by the Daesh-inspired group.
An army scout ranger captain and private first- class soldier were the latest fatalities. Several civilian hostages are still in the hands of the Daesh-linked group and thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict.
Clashes first broke out after the local terrorists led by the Maute brothers and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon laid siege to Marawi on May 23, prompting Duterte to place all of Mindanao under martial law.
In July, Congress overwhelmingly voted to grant Duterte's request to extend military rule in the southern region until Dec. 31.