Philippine Marines kill 5 Maute fighters in Marawi assault

The Philippine president visits the Grand Mosque, which was recently liberated by government troops after three months of fighting with the militants. (AN photo)
Updated 13 September 2017
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Philippine Marines kill 5 Maute fighters in Marawi assault

MANILA: Philippine security forces killed five members of the Daesh-backed Maute group in an early morning assault in Marawi City.
President Rodrigo Duterte made his fourth visit to Marawi on Monday. He visited the Grand Mosque, which was recently liberated from Maute by government troops after three months of intense fighting.
“The president’s recent presence in the main battle area has left a mark on our troops, in their strong desire to end the crisis in Marawi,” said Joint Task Force Marawi Commander Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista.
Duterte was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., presidential adviser on military affairs Arthur Tabaquero, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, and Army Chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda.
Around 1:19 a.m. on Tuesday, Marines and the Special Operations Group, under the Joint Task Group Tiger, engaged the terrorists in a heavy exchange of fire that lasted about 30 minutes.
The Joint Task Force Marawi said five Maute members were killed. Two of the bodies were retrieved, while the others “were left on the site because of dangerous circumstances.”
The troops recovered two high-powered firearms and a night-vision goggle. No casualties were reported on the government side.
Maj. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident, said: “The seamless integration of troops’ interoperability with their heightened morale in fighting the enemy has resulted in the swift and calculated assault on enemy positions.”
He added: “This accomplishment shows that the enemy’s hold in Marawi City is reducing day by day. It is only a matter of time that the crisis will end.”
More than 600 Maute members, 147 government troops and 45 civilians have been killed in the conflict in Marawi so far.
Among the latest government fatalities were Capt. Rommel Sandoval, company commander of the 11th Scout Ranger Co., and Private First Class Sherwin Canapi.
The two were killed as they tried to rescue a wounded comrade during an operation on Sunday.
Duterte paid his respects to the fallen soldiers before their bodies were taken to Manila from Cagayan de Oro City on Monday.


Thai cave boys to leave hospital

Updated 18 July 2018
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Thai cave boys to leave hospital

  • The “Wild Boars” football team are being discharged a day earlier than announced
  • Doctors have advised families of the boys, aged 11 to 16, that they should avoid letting them have contact with journalists for at least one month after they are discharged

CHIANG RAI, Thailand: Twelve boys and their football coach rescued from a cave in Thailand will leave hospital Wednesday and speak to the media for the first time, a government spokesman said.
The “Wild Boars” football team are being discharged a day earlier than announced and authorities hope that by holding the question and answer session before they head home it will satisfy the huge interest in their story.
“The reason to hold this evening press conference is so media can ask them questions and after that they can go back to live their normal lives without media bothering them,” Thailand’s chief government spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said.
But with experts warning of possible long-term distress from the ordeal inside the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, this will be no ordinary briefing.
The public relations department in Chiang Rai province solicited questions from news outlets ahead of time and they will be forwarded to psychiatrists for screening.
Called “Sending the Wild Boars Home” and broadcast on major television channels, the session will last for about 45 minutes, Sunsern said, adding that it would be conducted in an informal style with a moderator.
“They are likely to return home immediately after the press conference,” he said.
Doctors have advised families of the boys, aged 11 to 16, that they should avoid letting them have contact with journalists for at least one month after they are discharged.
Though they and their coach are all said to be in good mental and physical health, health officials say that additional psychological monitoring will be provided to detect lingering trauma.
The daring Thai-led international effort to rescue the “Wild Boars” captivated the world after they walked into the cave on June 23 and were trapped by rising floodwaters.
After nine days without a steady supply of food or water they were found emaciated and huddled in a group on a muddy ledge by British divers several kilometers inside Tham Luang.
Rescuers debated on the best plan to bring them out but ultimately decided on a risky operation that involved diving them through waterlogged passages while they were sedated to keep them calm and carrying them out in military-grade stretchers.
Not even the foreign cave diving specialists who took part were sure the mission would work and many expressed relief when it was all over after the final five were rescued on July 10.