World Bulletin / News Desk
A four-hour humanitarian cease-fire was declared Sunday in the besieged city of Marawi to free thousands of civilians trapped in armed confrontations between government forces and Daesh-linked militants.
The cease-fire comes as the military continues its offensive against the Maute Group.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año approved the humanitarian pause that will help with aid distribution, causality recovery and civilian rescue.
Año, was designated administrator of the martial law implemented by President Rodrigo Duterte, said the truce would last from 8 a.m. – 12 noon local time (0000GMT – 0400GMT) Sunday.
He rejected requests for the cease-fire to be extended for several days. "We cannot do that because we are still addressing several threats," he said.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's (ARMM) regional government announced earlier that as of 9 p.m. Friday, (0100GMT) 3,139 people remained stranded in Marawi 10 days after the Maute Group launched its attack on the city.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said 63 people were reported missing and 2,998 civilians had been rescued by authorities since the Maute Group launched the attack May 23.
Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants that pledged allegiance to ISIS attacked Marawi after state forces attempted to capture terror leader Isnilon Hapilon.
Fighting has killed 120 militants, 38 government forces and 20 civilians, according to government records as of Saturday.
Duterte said last Saturday he could finish off terrorists holed-up in Marawi within 24 hours if he used unrestrained air power, but he acknowledged the lives of innocent civilians would be sacrificed if he did took that course of action.
He said he could end the war in 24 hours by bombing all terrorists using 10 new jets.
"All I have to do is bomb the whole place and level it to the ground. But since we are in a civilized society, we are a member of United Nations and the Geneva Convention protocol,” he said. “I am having difficulty and we had to do it to the least maximum collateral damage, particularly on civilians," he added.
Last Mod: 04 Haziran 2017, 10:39