As Philippine authorities announced the capture on Thursday of a suspected bomber for an Islamic State-linked (IS) group battling government forces in Marawi, a local official said witnesses reported seeing scores of bodies strewn in the city’s streets.
Some residents were believed to be trapped in areas controlled by IS-affiliated militants in the southern Philippine city, while corpses of civilians who may have died of hunger or execution by gunmen were seen by people fleeing to safety, said Zia Alonto Adiong, the spokesman for the provincial government’s crisis management committee.
“Based on personal accounts of trapped residents who managed to cross the bridge from the encounter area to safety, there are roughly around a hundred bodies scattered on the streets and in advanced state of decomposition,” Adiong told BenarNews.
However, he said the report was being verified by rescuers and the military, which has not confirmed the figure. On Wednesday, Adiong had warned in an interview with Agence France-Presse that the local crisis management committee was “expecting the worst,” saying he and others feared rescuers might find bodies of residents who had starved to death because food and water supplies had run out in the city. Battles between Abu Sayyaf Group and Maute gang militants, who have been backed by foreign fighters, have raged for more than three weeks.
Full story: BenarNews
Felipe Villamor, Jeoffrey Maitem and Richel V. Umel
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