Palace welcomes rescue of 17 Maute hostages

Palace welcomes rescue of 17 Maute hostages”

Rescued hostages are now at 1,733 while Marawi City residents slain or executed by the bandits are put at 47.

Meanwhile, Col. Romeo Brawner, Joint Task Force Ranao chief said six Maute terrorists were killed during Tuesday's operation.

Arevalo on his update on the crisis disclosed that the military operations are now confined to roughly five to seven hectares with around 40 militant fighters engaging against the government troops which includes hostages who were forced by the terrorists to fight with them.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the government forces were able to rescue nine males and eight females, with ages ranging from 18 to 75.

"It is confidential because efforts to rescue the remaining hostages are ongoing", Lorenzana said in a text message.

Abella said Islamist gunmen who were still engaged in a firefight with security troops tend to show "tenacity and resistance".

Arevalo noted that concealing the information is part of the troops' carefully planned strategies to avoid increasing further numbers of casualties on the part of the government and the hostages.

He, however, said the country's forces continued to launch "focused and intense" offensives, in order to retake the conflict-torn city.

Abella said the tenacity and resistance of the remaining rebels trapped in a small portion of Marawi City are making it hard for state forces to rescue the other hostages, estimated by the military at about 40 people.

Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the rescue of 17 hostages from Maute terrorists, saying the military is focused on bringing the Marawi rebellion to a decisive end.

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