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Maute stronghold in Marawi down to two barangays —military

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 8/5/2017 Gorgonio, Luis
Government troops assault Maute gunmen position during a battle to flush them out of Marawi City on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco © Provided by GMA News Online Government troops assault Maute gunmen position during a battle to flush them out of Marawi City on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Relentless armed offensives have narrowed down ISIS-inspired Maute group's area of control to two barangays in Marawi City,  the military said Saturday.

"Nasa dalawang barangay na lang tayo ngayon nakatuon ... itong area na may military operation ay nasa mga less than 1 square kilometer na lang," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said in an interview on radio dzBB.

As of 7 p.m. on August 3, a total of 522 Maute members and 119 government forces were killed in the ongoing clashes. Terrorist have so far killed 45 civilians.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that only 30 to 40 Maute group members remain holed up in Marawi, noting that these are the most capable of inflicting casualties on the government side.

However, Padilla said that the Maute members are running out of ammunition

"Halata naman sa kanilang galaw, noong mga nakaraang linggo talagang akala niyo eh hindi sila mauubusan ng bala at kagamitan dahil talagang kung sila'y gumanti sa putukan ay tuloy-tuloy, ngayon eh hindi na. Mukhang talagang kinokonserba nila ang kanilang natitira pang kagamitan," he said.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte visited troubled Marawi City a second time on August 4. 

Padilla said that the chief executive's visit served as an inspiration for the government forces whose morale and determination have remained high.

"Isa 'yan na pinagkukunan ng inspirasyon ng ating mga kasundaluhan pati kapulisan na nandiyan sa loob, at maliwanag din na ang kanilang isa pang pinagkukunan ng inspirasyon ay ang patuloy na suporta ng ating mga kababayan...," he said.

"Pati mga sulat na nanggagaling sa ating mga estudyante sa mga iba't ibang paaralan, sa iba't ibang dako ng kapuluhan ay nakakarating din sa kanila kaya nababasa nila ang sentimyento ng ating mga kababayan at lalo silang nakikita yung taos-pusong suporta ng lahat ng mga miyembro ng ating lipunan." 

"Kaya sinasabi nila sa sarili nila na dahil sa suportang ito wala tayong rason na hindi dapat matapos ito nang madalian," Padilla added. —LBG, GMA News

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