ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Two more extremist gunmen, including a purported close aide of slain Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, were killed in a firefight when they engaged government troops who chanced on them as they foraged for food in the ruins of Marawi City.
Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, said two soldiers were also wounded in the clash that happened around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Marawi’s main battle area.
He said the bodies of Hapilon aide Abu Talja and the other gunmen were recovered by the troops.
Brawner said captured Indonesian extremist Muhammad Ilham Syahputra had told authorities that many of the stragglers from the extremist bands that took part in the five-month occupation of Marawi were already starving.
Syahputra, who was caught in Barangay Loksadatu Wednesday, said there are more than 30 gunmen still in the war-shattered city.