THE 22 cadavers recovered by troops in the main battle area in Marawi City last Tuesday may include some of the ranking leaders and commanders of the Maute terrorist group, according to the military.
“Interesado rin kaming malaman kung may malaking tao dito sa mga namatay na ito kaya’t nakiusap tayo sa PNP (Philippine National Police) na madaliin ang pag-identify sa mga namatay na ito dahil maaaring may isa o dalawa dyan sa mga kinikilala nating naging lider ng grupong ito na bahagi ng cadavers (We are interested to know if someone big is among the dead, so we requested the PNP to speed up the identification process because there can be one or two (Maute) leaders among these cadavers),” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said late Wednesday.
Padilla said that the forensic examinations to be conducted by the police will determine whether foreigners are among the cadavers recently recovered.
The bodies were recovered in two buildings where military units have encountered tough resistance in the past few weeks, Padilla said.
Also recovered near the bodies were eight high-powered firearms — two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, four M-16 automatic rifles, an M-4 assault rifle, an M-14 automatic rifles — and dozens of improvised explosive devices.
As of this posting, the remaining Maute Group terrorists are estimated at 38 to 40, and those killed at 802.
Military and police personnel killed in the ongoing campaign are now placed at 160, and rescued hostages at 1,750, while another 42 are held captive by the group.
Fighting in Marawi City erupted following an attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts last May 23. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA