Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - 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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