Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on October 17 announced that the government’s armed forces have liberated southern Marawi city after the 148-day clashes against Islamic militants.

Earlier, Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the armed forces were still looking for Malaysian terrorist Mahmud bin Ahmad, who led and sponsored the siege in Marawi city.

There were about 10-20 militants hiding in Marawi, with eight foreign gunmen. They were keeping 20 hostages, including women and children, he added.

[Philippines declares early liberation of Marawi city]

Since the fighting of Philippine government armed forces against Islamic militants in Marawi city last May, 822 militants, 162 government soldiers and 47 civilians were killed. More than 1,700 soldiers and police officers were injured. About 400,000 people had to leave their home.

President Duterte previously extended the martial law in the southern province of Mindanao, of which Marawi is a part, to the end of this year to facilitate the army’s activities against militants.-VNA