Govt forces rescue 181 more civilians trapped in Marawi as death toll hits 175

June 3, 2017 - 12:36 PM
A soldier carries a boy rescued earlier this week in Marawi City. (Reuters)

MARAWI CITY, Philippines — Government security forces said Saturday they have rescued 181 more residents who had been trapped in Marawi City since fighting broke out with extremist gunmen Tuesday last week.

Many of the rescued were women and children who were trapped in their homes.

After 10 days of clashes, the military placed the death toll thus far at 175: 120 extremists, 36 government personnel, and 19 civilians. The government losses included 10 soldiers — adjusted down from 11 — killed in an Air Force bombing run.

Isnaela Asis was profuse in her gratitude for having been rescued with her family from Barangay Buncado Coloni, which she said had been occupied by the gunmen, mostly from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, who government says are now the local affiliates of the Islamic State.

Asis said some of the fighters were as young as 15, bolstering early reports that there were child warriors among the extremists.

She said she tried to talk to the gunmen but they threatened to kill her.

Among those rescued with Asis were around 30 Christians she said she had protected from the extremists.

The Marawi clashes prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare all of Mindanao under martial law.