The number of Maute group members being pursued by government forces in Marawi City has gone down to 80, a military spokesperson said Saturday.
"The remaining local terrorist group is more or less around 80, and they have still occupied vantage positions as we move forward to the center of gravity," Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said in a media briefing.
Herrera said the remaining Maute group members are holed up in an area within the city's business district where at least 800 buildings are located.
He said clearing operations on the 800 buildings are continuous.
He said the military will continue the air strikes to flush out the Maute group's snipers, who have been slowing down the troops' advance into the militants' positions.
"Kung makikita ninyo naka-occupy sila ng high-rise buildings so dapat mas mataas tayo. That's why gumagamit tayo ng air strike," Herrera said.
Meanwhile, Herrera said that Abdullah Maute is still in command of the remaining Maute members.
During the briefing, Herrera said more Maute group members have been killed in clashes and air strikes since July 6.
As of July 8, the military spokesman said a total of 366 Maute group members have been killed by troops.
The number of deaths from the government side was still at 87, while 38 civilians have been confirmed killed by the terrorists.
Herrera said a total of 1,722 civilians trapped in Marawi City have been rescued.
The conflict is now on its seventh week. It started with the Maute group's attack in the city last May 23, which prompted President Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao.
Malacañang had said the government is eyeing to spend at least P20 billion for the rehabilitation of the war-torn city. —ALG, GMA News