Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Militants force kids, hostages to fight: Philippine army

Militants force kids, hostages to fight: Philippine army

"The FA-50 will momentarily be pulled out from deployment until the investigation is finished and once we ascertain the reason why the bombs went off target", AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said in a press briefing, as quoted GMA News Online.

The bomb was 250 meters off target.

"This [recent] incident that happened, the bomb did not hit our men, it hit an area proximate to where they were, which caused the collapse of the building", Padilla said.

The Catholic bishops insisted in their statement that the war is "not religious", and said that Muslim and Christian civilians have been helping each other escape the radical militants.

They then cited several biblical passages on love of God and neighbor before urging action in showing solidarity with those who have fled Marawi and those who have been taken hostage.

Some local reports have said that as many as 2,000 civilians may have been killed so far, though army officials have said that such numbers stem from "unverified reports".

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"We continuously get disturbing narratives from [escaped residents] that children as well as hostages are being employed in the firefight", Padilla told reporters in Manila.

Part of the assessment is whether all persons included in two arrest orders issued by Lorenzana have been arrested. "They have contradicted the fundamental tenets of Islam by abducting, maiming and killing the innocent", said the bishops, who appealed for help for displaced residents, especially those who are not yet adequately served.

The prelates also wondered whether martial law across the southern part of the country would ensure the return of peace. "The first one who will see this is the AFP chief of staff so he can include his inputs and he will be the one to approve this before submitting to the secretary of National Defense", Padilla explained.

The Philippine military says more than 100 fighters remain holed up with hostages in the centre of the city, where snipers in high-rise booby-trapped buildings are preventing troops launching a full-scale ground assault. They also have over 600 buildings to clear.

"While these terrorists kill people indiscriminately, respecting no one in trying to dissect our land, our soldiers will continue to liberate Marawi City, bearing in mind that this city belongs to our Maranao brothers and sisters, and this land belongs to the Filipino people", he said.

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