Lorenzana admits military afraid if Marawi hostages used as “suicide bombers”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted the military are afraid that the Maute-Abu Sayyaf in Marawi may use their civilian hostages as “suicide bombers.”
“Now based on what they (soldiers) see on the ground it seems that they (terrorist) are using the civilians as hostages. We are not sure if they will use the civilians for suicide bombing, we do not know yet,” Lorenzana told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Monday .
“That is one of what our soldiers are afraid of: that they might release the civilians with bombs,” he added.
In a text message, Lorenzana explained that the terrorists might use the civilian to inflict casualties to government troops.
“Yes as suicide bombers or use them (civilian hostages) to get near the troops to detonate themselves,” he said.
Lorenzana said they estimate the number of Maute-Abu Sayyaf members still in the conflict-affected area in Marawi City has gone down to 30 to 40.
“In our estimate, they are around 30 to 40, but these are the good fighters. In fact, we still sustain casualties. Our latest fatality was recorded three days ago: one killed and about nine wounded. Just yesterday we have five soldiers wounded,” he said.
The number of terrorists killed has reached 491 while government fatalities remain at 114.
Lorenzana said the government is on post-disaster assessment for the rehabilitation of the city.
“We are on the post-disaster assessment, Usec Cesar Yano he is in charge on that. He also organized all the departments involved, and local officials, governor, mayor and local government units, sultanates. They will also have a say in rehabilitation,” he said.
“The priority there is to restore the infrastructure, roads, bridges, and to clear the area, to allow the evacuees whose house were not destroyed to return to their homes, to restore the damaged places,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS