Despite being surrounded in an ever-shrinking sector of Marawi metropolis, the Philippines’ defence chief says it will nonetheless take “a month or two” to defeat the terrorists who’ve been holding out since May 23.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated in the present day (Thursday, August 10) that the duty can be “complicated, but Marawi will be liberated”.
His phrases are in stark distinction to an announcement he made a month in the past, when he stated the siege of town might be resolved in “a week or a month”.
It is now practically three months because the terrorists started their rampage by way of town below the black flag of IS.
Nearly 700 individuals, together with 528 Islamist fighters, have been killed within the battle. Up to 400,000 individuals are estimated to have been displaced.
In an interview with Channel NewsAsia in the present day, Mr Lorenzana gave a frank evaluation of the numerous difficulties the Philippines navy confronted within the battle.
The navy, he stated, had been caught off guard by the energy of the terrorist forces – a few of whom are overseas jihadists and specialists in city preventing.
“Our people were not trained in urban fighting; we have been concentrating on guerrilla warfare, jungle warfare, and so this is actually a new kind of warfare for us,” he added.
He additionally stated that the experience of the militants was “really unbelievable” and that greater than half of the military’s casualties had been brought on by sniper hearth.
The navy additionally confronted “a failure of intelligence” after its number-one intelligence officer in Marawi was killed.
“He had people inside working with the group, and he knew where these people were going, every hour of the day,” he stated. “But after his death, we were blind. It takes a lot of time to develop intelligence on the enemy.”
When requested why it took so lengthy for the federal government to confess that there have been overseas IS jihadis within the nation, Mr Lorenzana stated: “We were in denial. I think part of the reason was that the armed forces did not want to accept the fact that the southern Philippines would one day be part of this IS movement.”
Mr Lorenzana stated the most important safety concern now was the doable unfold of extremists throughout the of the nation. “Because a lot of them are Filipinos, they can travel anywhere in the Philippines, and they can create mayhem or trouble anywhere — especially in in highly populated areas, like Manila and Cebu.”
While the federal government had not obtained any data that the terrorists had been concentrating on these cities, Mr Lorenzana stated the authorities had been taking “proactive measures”.
“We have alerted our troops right here in Manila, the police, we’ve intensified our intelligence, we are attempting to observe the motion of the terrorists within the south.
“If they come here, we have border reports. Even the shipping lanes are being monitored by our navy and our coastguards,” he stated.