About 100 bodies of civilians and Islamic militants remain uncollected in the rubble of a southern Philippine city because of continuing fighting between troops and gunmen aligned with the Islamic State group, an official said Thursday.
Provincial government crisis committee spokesman Zia Alonto Adiong said the estimate was based on accounts by residents who have escaped from areas of Marawi city that are still mired in clashes, and aid volunteers who entered a combat zone during a four-day lull in the fighting last week.
Retrieval teams have been organized, although it remains unclear when the siege by the remaining militants, estimated to number more than 100, can be quelled by troops, Adiong said. The stench of death has been reported by witnesses in still-inaccessible areas since militants launched their attack on May 23.
“We need to expect the worst and to be ready to transition from a crisis mode to a recovery mode,” Adiong told The Associated Press by telephone.
The violence in the lakeside city…
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