MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday declared an end to combat operations in Marawi City, saying the capital of Lanao del Sur had been cleared of militants after five months of fighting.
“There are no more militants in Marawi City,” Lorenzana, who was in Clark, Pampanga for an international summit of defense ministers, said.
He said, “Those are the last group of stragglers of Mautes and they were caught in one building so there was a firefight, so they were finished.”
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This was a reiteration of a declaration on Sunday from Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commanding officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command, who said troops were clearing a building where around 30 Abu Sayyaf and Maute terrorists were making a last stand.
“We are clearing the last floors,” Galvez said in a brief text message to reporters.
Troops had been working Sunday to put an end to the crisis by midnight.
“It’s either they all get killed, because they’re determined to die inside, or we capture them or they surrender,” Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Task Force Ranao, said then. — with a report from the Associated Press