MARAWI CITY — Government soldiers fighting to finish off members of a homegrown terror group (TAP – many are ISIS from other countries) had stared death in the face during clashes here, trading gunfire with what some soldiers described as suicidal gunmen in close quarter battles that brought them as near as five meters to their enemies.
One soldier, Army Sgt. Erlito Pacaña, said he and other soldiers were sent as reinforcements for government forces pinned down by Maute Group members on May 23 when they saw how the terrorists fought.
Pacaña, 29 and native of Dipolog City, said he and other soldiers were on their way to help an Army team taking heavy fire when they were met by an explosion.
“We were immediately fired upon by the enemies. We returned fire,” said Pacaña, who only later felt pain on his shoulder and realized he had been wounded in the blast.
“The enemies were so aggressive. They were willing to die,” Pacaña said.
He said while no one in his team was killed, he and several other soldiers had been wounded and had to be evacuated amid heavy gunfire.
Pfc. Mark Erwin Rule, 24 and native of Zamboanga del Sur, was with several other soldiers when they received an order to proceed to the village of Basak Malutlut.
“When we arrived in Malutlut, we found that we were surrounded by enemies,” said Rule. “They were behind us, in front of us and on both sides of us,” he said.
Rule said he led his fellow soldiers to a narrow road, where two masked men in black overalls suddenly emerged.
That was no doubt the sound of a sniper fire filling in the air of the city. Wounded soldiers of the government troops were telling the China Global Television Network (CGTN) that they were facing great dangers and their enemies were difficult to defeat.
“It’s hard because they’ve occupied the tallest buildings (TAP – light a few fires?). You don’t know where they’ll hit you from behind or from the side or right in front of you. You can’t see the snipers,” said Christopher Tamparong, a soldier with the Scout Rangers, a Philippine Army Special Operations Command.
“The enemy who wounded me was only five to seven meters away. At first I didn’t know I was hit, I only realized it as I was moving away. Some of the battle is wall to wall and face to face,” said Mark Erwin Rule, another soldier of Scout Rangers.
Despite the challenges, no one, not the troops on the ground nor the military leadership, is losing hope. The army spokesperson in Marawi said on Saturday that they are continuing to advance and that they have retaken key structures and bridges in the city and that it is only a matter of time before Marawi is liberated. — Reuters
TAP – a few of the latest Russian laser targeted sniper rifles might help the Filipino forces. The ISIS terrorists armed by Saudi Arabia have these.