Defense and military officials said Thursday that 11 soldiers were killed while seven others were wounded when a military airstrike hit ground troops in Marawi City.
"Yesterday we had a tragedy that involved our troops. A group of our military, Army men were hit by our own airstrike. We lost men, 10 killed and 8 wounded," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in his speech during the tactical and survival expo in Mandaluyong City.
Lorenzana later clarified during a press conference in Malacañang that only seven were wounded.
Later at a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said a total of 11 soldiers died in the friendly fire.
Lorenzana expressed sadness over the incident.
"It's sad but sometimes that happens, sometimes in fog of war. Maybe the coordination was not properly done so we hit our own people," he said.
In an ambush interview, Lorenzana said they do not have yet the details of the incident.
"We are still trying to investigate what happened. We will come up with a report," he said.
He refused to discuss the incident.
"Hindi pa namin alam ang details that's why I'm not going to talk about it," he said.
The Defense chief said Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año will head the investigation.
In Camp Aguinaldo, Padilla said one of the SF260W aircraft conducting airstrike Wednesday had successfully hit three of the assigned target in its earlier sorties.
“Tatlong beses siyang nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na tirahin ang target at maayos niyang tamaan. However, it was unfortunate that the last (fourth) ordnance round it delivered went wayward for an unknown reason and accidentally hit and caused the lives of our ground forces,” he said.
He said SF260W is made in Italy and it is primarily being used as a trainer but they converted and armed it.
“Karamihan po dito ay ginagamit natin na trainer pero nung mga nakaraang panahon meron po tayong nakuha na pwedeng i-convert sa tinatawag na warrior, so pwedeng armasan at pwedeng gamitin sa pagtulong sa ating tropa sa baba,” he said.
He said two SF260W were used in the Marawi operation.
“Madami tayong ganito, may ilan tayong ginagamit. So sa ating kasalukuyang nagiging kooperasyon dito sa Marawi, n’ung araw na iyon ang aking pagkakaalam ay may dalawa tayong ginagamit,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News