The Marawi siege continues, following the unsuccessful army raid last May 23 to capture terror suspect leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is believed to have been designated by the Islamic State group as its leader in Southeast Asia.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in a speech in Cagayan de Oro, that there will be no negotiation with the Maute group/Abu Sayyaf group that have aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who are believed to have hostages in the city of Marawi. The president has actually ordered the military to kill all the militants even if they slaughter the hostages.
"I was asked if I could negotiate. I'm telling you now, you can kill all those you're holding now, but I won't talk to you," Duterte said in a speech "My order really is to shoot you and to shoot you dead."
It has been almost two weeks since the daring siege of Marawi City by local and foreign militants. And it is believed they are holding hostages in some of the small areas they still control and occupy.
Marawi is considered the heartland of Islamic faith in the southern Philippines, and since it was seiged the death toll is currently at 178(120 militants, 20 civilians and 38 soldiers and policemen), gunmen have raised Islamic State-style black flags across the city since May 23 and has burned some buildings, churches , and houses.
Relentless airstrikes and artillery fire have been done by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), even leading to the death and injuries suffered by some soldiers due to friendly fire.
Some 2,000 residents are still believed to be trapped in their houses and it is feared they have run out of food and water.
In a video sent by the militants to government authorities, Rev. Teresito Suganob said that he and about 200 other captives, including children, were being held by the militants. Authorities believed he spoke under duress as can be seen in the video.
Airstrikes still an option
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in a press conference, said that the ground commander can still use air attacks/bombings if necessary in order to defeat the extremists.
“We have not pulled out this option from the cards that the ground commander has at hand. He may still call for an airstrike or for air support on specific targets he sees as a threat to his forces,” he said