Philippine military forces are patrolling Marawi city (Photo: AFP/VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – A top military general of the Philippines said on June 13 that Islamic militants are controlling 20 percent of the southern city of Marawi in Mindanao island.

Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, head of military command in Western Mindanao, told reporters that out of 96 areas, the Islamic militants are holding portions in Marinaut, Lulut, Mapandi and Bongolo commercial district, which only comprise 20 percent of the whole Marawi city and it is getting smaller every day.

Earlier, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS)'s news agency, Amaq, said IS fighters are spread in more than two-thirds of Marawi and tighten the chokehold on the Philippine army that is incapable of maintaining control of the situation. But military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla branded the Amaq report "pure propaganda".

Almost the entire population of Marawi of about 200,000 people fled after the militants attacked the city. However, the Philippine military believed that there are 500-600 people trapped or being held hostage.

According to military spokesman Padilla, by June 13, about 58 security officers and 26 civilians were killed during the clashes in Marawi.

The fighting between the Philippine military and the Islamic militants broke out on May 23. President Rodrigo Duterte then announced martial law on Mindanao island to stop the escalating threat from IS there. The US special force recently provided technical support to the Southeast Asian country’s army in the fights in Marawi to free the city.-VNA