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September 30 target to free Marawi may not happen —AFP official

Marawi City's complete liberation from pro-ISIS Maute terrorists is not going to happen on September 30, as Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana had expected.

The fierce war for Marawi that has raged for over four months may still drag on for 10 to 15 days, a dzBB report said Saturday.

Quoting Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr, dzBB's Benjie Liwanag reporting from Marawi said troops in the war-torn city have expressed confidence they can end the battle in 10 to 15 days.

However, government troops in the main war zone are having difficulties in battling holdover Maute terrorists, who spread themselves thinly within their main stronghold, Liwanag added.

Security forces have focused their hunt for the enemies on small structures and narrow alleys within the Maute's shrinking area of control, the report said.

Government forces have also reportedly found sacks containing nails, coins and various metals the terrorists use in making explosive devices that deter the soldiers' final push to free the city. 

On the other hand, Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Colonel Romeo Brawner said that the enemy death toll as of September 30 (Day 131) of the battle has risen to 749, and the number of troops killed in action is at 155. This, after two soldiers died in a firefight on September 29 that also took down 13 terrorists.

Meanwhile, 47 civilians have died, while 1,733 have been rescued since the battle began on May 23, 2017. —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/LBG, GMA News