MARAWI (Updated) — Troops found the bodies of 16 civilians in the streets as they fought Sunday to drive out militants linked to the Islamic State group who have occupied parts of a southern city. The overall death toll was 92.
The dead civilians included a group of four men, three women and a child who were found near a road close to the Mindanao State University in Marawi, said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.
Eight other men were found gunned down and thrown in a shallow ravine about 6 a.m. on Sunday in Marawi's Emi village, said police officer Jamail Mangadang.
A paper sign attached to one of the men indicated the victims "betrayed their faith," he said.
The identities of the victims were not immediately available as of Sunday.
Padilla said 61 militants have been killed together with 11 soldiers and four police since Tuesday, when a failed raid to capture one of Asia's top militants triggered an attack on the city.
Troops were pressing their assaults on the militants Sunday, he said.
"We're also focusing on house-to-house clearing of areas and rescuing trapped residents," Padilla told The Associated Press by phone from Manila, the capital. Troops rescued about 100 trapped civilians from their homes Saturday, he said.
On Saturday, the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), in a statement, said there is no civilian casualty in air strikes in Marawi City.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Westmincom chief, said the aerial strikes were surgical and receive precise information from ground troops before launching air to ground strikes.
Government forces have been pursuing about 50 heavily armed terrorists who attacked the city to raise Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) flags.
The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare on Tuesday, May 23, 60 days of martial law in Mindanao. (AP/PNA)