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Monday, August 26, 2019

Marawi City siege death toll now at 175

ILIGAN CITY -- An official of the military said 120 extremists, 36 soldiers, and 19 civilians have died 10 days since the beginning of the fighting in Marawi City.

Colonel Jo-ar Hererra, spokesperson of the Army’s 1st Infantry "Tabak" Division, the artillery, airstrikes, and ground operations continue to be focused on Banggolo village where an undetermined number of militants are holed up.

Herrera said more troops have arrived to reinforce troops already in the thick of the fighting.

The death toll from the "friendly fire" incident, however, was lowered to 10 from 11.

This developed after two government officials on Thursday gave conflicting death tolls for Wednesday's airstrikes.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Restituto Padilla said the official death toll was 10 dead and eight wounded.

Officials blame failure of communication for the bungled air offensives initially staged to attack members of the Maute group in Marawi City.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza on Thursday said the government forces might suspend airstrikes but it will be up to the ground commanders.

A board of inquiry will be investigating the cause of the friendly fire.

After incident, the faulty aircraft has been grounded while the pilot involved in the unfortunate incident was placed on hold as he undergoes debriefing.

Sultan Fahad Salic, former Marawi City Mayor, meanwhile, has denied providing support to members of the Maute terror group.

"Wala akong kinalaman sa pag supporta sa mga Maute group nanag bibigay ng kaguluhan sa Marawi City (I don’t know anything about giving support to the Mautes),” Salic said.

The former Marawi City mayor said it would be unthinkable for him to support the extremists since he has family in the city which has been destroyed by the fighting.

Salic's elder brother Solitario Ali echoed the former’s sentiments saying the young extremists are difficult to influence since.

Solitario is a consultant of the Office of the Presidential Assistant On Peace Process. (With reports from SunStar Philippines)

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