AFP: Operations, firefight in Marawi City continue

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Tuesday night, May 23, that its operations and the sporadic fighting in Marawi City are ongoing, but will not "give specifics at this point."

The AFP said the ongoing clash in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur is aimed at neutralizing Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was spotted along with his followers in the area.

"The joint AFP-PNP team that is after Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts is determined to finish him off. We are also acting on reports of armed men occupying the hospital and some other buildings," the military official said.

READ: Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao

Army spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said they are still verifying reports of alleged armed men occupying Amai Pakpak Medical Center and other government buildings.

The military has instead urged residents to remain calm and keep themselves safe but at the same asked for their cooperation and "provide information on enemy location and their movements."

READ: Troops, Maute group clash in Marawi City; 5 wounded

Social media are abuzz of the alleged burning of Dansalan College and the burning of the Marawi City Jail including this photo posted in Facebook by Maulana Macadato, Marawi City Commission on Elections officer.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, meanwhile, said there are no report of hostages and that the hospital is in full operation.

The reported fire in Dansalan College is still being verified, he added.

He also said there have been sightings of the Isis-inspired Maute Group talking to residents and the armed groups engaging in a firefight if they see the military.

Earlier, Padilla said the ongoing clash in the city is aimed at neutralizing Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was spotted along with an estimated 15 followers in the area.

Social media postings from Marawi residents are showing that a blackout is now being experienced in the city. (Divina Morgia Suson/SuperBalita Cagayan de Oro/With VLA/SunStar Philippines)
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