Children forced to fight alongside Islamic State — Philippine military

Posted July 14, 2017

The military has also seized 497 firearms from the Islamic State-linked Maute fighters.

The government is ready to start the early stage of rehabilitation of Marawi City primarily focusing on restoration of basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation, health and education, a military spokesman said on Monday.

Padilla said the aircraft had a "very high success rate" in nearly 70 missions.

"Large debris from heavily reinforced buildings accidentally hit two of our personnel who [died] in the process", Arevalo added.

"These kinds of incident will occur in the battle because of the complexity of the environment, the fog of war, the lack of communication and what have you, so in this case we have no reason to say that it was the fault of the pilot yet until after we have done the investigation", he added.

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"What happened yesterday and last month, when several of our marines inadvertently perished because a wayward ordnance dropped from an aircraft, reflect the harsh nature of urban warfare where soldiers operate in tight spaces and in close proximity to the enemy", Lorenzana said on Thursday, referring to the two friendly-fire incidents.

He said items recovered by soldiers were turned over to their owners and houses and establishments that they could not safeguard were ordered to be padlocked.

"The impact of the explosion caused the collapse of nearby structures".

During the same press briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag revealed that the number of terrorists killed in Marawi rose to 379 from 353.

"As of now, we have not gone into the interiors of previously held enemy areas and once we do that we may get the surprise of our lives and find numbers of cadavers left who have been killed by the enemy", he said.

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More than 100 militants remain holed up in the city.

Earlier the military said civilians had been forced to help the militants by carrying supplies and ammunition, caring for the wounded and helping them loot the city, much of which has been destroyed in the fighting and air strikes.

"Every time there is an opportunity to rescue a child or an individual who is forced into the fight, we will do that", Padilla said. As of the latest count, 54 buildings have been cleared.

Even President Rodrigo Duterte, in public speeches, has said he is angry because the people of the city allowed the Maute terror group to set up base in the city and stock up on weapons and munitions.

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