Friendly fire kills 10 troops in southern Philippines
Government airstrikes meant to hit Takfiri Daesh terrorists in a city in the southern Philippines have mistakenly killed 10 government troops and injured seven others, an army official says.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the incident took place on Wednesday when military aircraft bombed and fired rockets at positions in the southern city of Marawi, where Daesh terrorists have been hiding and holding hostages for more than a week.
“A group of our military armed men were hit by our own airstrikes. Ten killed,” Lorenzana said. “It’s sad but sometimes it happens in the fog of war. The coordination was not properly done.”
Military chiefs in the Philippines had previously said the military operations to flush out Daesh involved “precision” and “surgical” airstrikes, assuring that no trapped civilians or hostages would be harmed in the urban areas.
The clashes erupted on Tuesday last week when gunmen waving black flags of Daesh rampaged through the mostly Muslim-populated city in response to an effort by security forces to arrest a Filipino on the US government’s list of most-wanted terrorists. That individual and his gunmen have pledged allegiance to Daesh.
Eighty nine militants have been killed over the past days in the efforts to drive them out of the city and about 2,000 civilians are still trapped in the militant-held areas.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law across the southern third of the county to prevent collateral damage. The Daesh militants have forced 200,000 Marawi residents to flee.
The Maute group is one of the less than a dozen new armed groups that have pledged allegiance to Daesh and formed a loose alliance in the southern Philippines. It has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in the southern Davao City — President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown — last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offensives.