Philippines: 18 more bodies recovered in Marawi

Autopsies suggest victims were shot execution style

Philippines: 18 more bodies recovered in Marawi

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least 18 bodies have been recovered from areas of Marawi previously occupied by militants as the battle for the city entered its 100th day Tuesday.

The Philippine National Police Region 10 command autopsy team said the bodies bore wounds from gunshots fired at close range, indicating execution style killing.

Police forensic pathologist Christian Caballes said the cause of death of the individuals, including a 5-year-old girl, was a gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities believe some of the remains were those of hostages of the Maute terrorist group or victims used as human shields, according to local media outfits.

Aside from being used as human shields, the military said some civilians were being forced by the Maute group to loot homes, take up arms or become sex slaves.

Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman for the Marawi Crisis Management Committee, told ABS-CBN News that some of the unclaimed bodies could be of those who were killed during the early days of fighting in the main battle area of Marawi.

"Maybe they could be the hostages or civilians. I don't know. It's either the Maute (group) or Abu Sayyaf," he said.

A total of 792 people, mostly terror suspects, have died since clashes erupted between state forces and Daesh-linked terrorists on May 23.

The clashes have forced more than 200,000 out of Marawi city and thousands more from nearby areas. The crisis has also destroyed much of the once bustling urban center.

Last Tuesday, the military said it is expecting tougher firefights with the remaining Daesh-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Marawi.

"We will expect fierce confrontations with Maute-(Daesh) as they make their last stand," Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año told reporters.

Año believes the Maute leaders, brothers Omar and Abdullah, are still alive and in the area.

"As far as we know, Abdullah and Omar are still there. Yes, they are still there," he said.

"Our main goal: no way out, no way in. They want to join. They want to go to heaven, they said, so we will give them the chance to go to heaven."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Ağustos 2017, 09:57