World Bulletin / News Desk
Government troops have retaken the last stronghold of ISIL-linked militants and hoisted the Philippine flag in what may be the final phase of war in Marawi City.
Army Lt. General Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, on Saturday said troops have captured the Masiu Bridge and several buildings held by the Maute group at noon Friday.
Located in the village of Raya Madaya, the bridge is the last of strongholds that the fighters of the terrorists occupied in the beginning of the war in the city's commercial district of Marawi.
"This Masiu bridge is the main access way to the city," he told reporters. "Our troops now occupy both ends of this bridge," said Galvez.
The three bridges on Agus River – Baloi Bridge, Bayabao Bridge, and Masiu Bridge – separated the battle area from the military-controlled safe-zone. Troops regained control of Baloi Bridge on July 20 and Bayabao Bridge on Sept. 1.
The troops have also hoisted the Philippine flag on one of the buildings around the corner of Agus River and Lake Lanao, said Galvez.
According to Galvez, the retaking of Masiu bridge from the hands of Maute group is a sign that the war in Marawi is almost over as most of the terrorist strongholds have already been taken by troops.
The fighting in Marawi entered its fourth month on Saturday, Sept. 23. At least 887 have died including 151 soldiers, 689 enemies, and 47 civilians.
On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte, during his visit to the front line, said the battle was nearing its end, but said there would be no celebration once soldiers liberate Marawi.
Aside from terrorists, corrupt politicians in Mindanao were believed funding the rebellion, Duterte added. "The military was winding up its operation. I told the soldiers we will not have any celebration.
After all have been said and done, we will just go out quietly. No one wins this war."
The President also said he would lift martial law in Mindanao only if he sees the region is safe and there is no spillover of violence.Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2017, 10:02