Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Philip C. Tubeza @pctubezaIN­Q

An elderly woman was shot dead on Saturday by Maute terrorists in Marawi City as she was about to be rescued after being trapped between clashes of the extremists and government troops, a military official said on Sunday.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippine­s spokespers­on, said the military was being “very careful” as it tried to neutralize the remaining rebels in the city because they planned to use their hostages as human shields.

“We were rescuing an elderly woman, if I’m not mistaken she was 70 years old, but she was hit by sniper fire from the enemy,” Padilla said.

“So instead of her getting rescued, this elderly woman was hit and she died,” he said.

Padilla said the clearing operation in Marawi was slowing down because the extremists planned to use “human shields.”

“We want to make sure that the city is cleared of armed elements, particular­ly of Maute members, but this is not being done quickly now because we learned that they might use their hostages and residents trapped in the fighting as human shields,” Padilla said.

“So, wewill do this slowly to make sure that the civilians who are trapped in the areas where [the extremists] are holed up will be freed,” he added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday said there were still around 200 to 300 gunmen surrounded in Barangay Banggolo, Marawi’s central business district.

Padilla advised trapped civilians in the area to look for a white cloth in their homes and wave it once government troops reached their houses.

“When you see soldiers around your home, look for a white cloth that could be used as a flag and wave it outside,” Padilla said.

“Once you get the attention of the soldiers, the women, elderly and men should come out with their hands held high. And then, wait for instructio­ns from our soldiers,” he said.

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