Troops rescue 17 hostages in Marawi
At least 17 hostages of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute militants in the war-torn Marawi City were rescued by government troops on Wednesday bringing the number of remaining hostages to around 26.
Among the rescued hostages were teachers from Dansalan College who were held captive since the early days of the siege ranging in age from 18 to 75, according to defense chief Delfin Lorenzana.
The military declined to release more details as ongoing operations work to rescue more hostages. "I hope you will also understand that we try to manage these information," said military spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo in a press briefing.
"That they [information] do not reach the enemies… They might just do drastic actions against other remaining hostages." Arevalo noted that concealing the information is part of the troops' carefully planned strategies to avoid increasing further numbers of casualties on the part of the government and the hostages.
Officials said that the rescued hostages are now undergoing tactical debriefing and medical procedures.
Arevalo on his update on the crisis, disclosed that the military operations is now confined to roughly five to seven hectares with around 40 militant fighters engaging against the government troops which includes hostages who were forced by the terrorists to fight with them.
The crisis in Marawi, on its 135th day Wednesday, erupted when militant groups launched an attack on the city allegedly to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region.
It has caused a humanitarian crisis displacing more than 200,000 residents and has seen more than 955 deaths, mostly militants.