Philippines: Number of casualties increases in Marawi hinh anh 1Philippine army forces in the southern city of Marawi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – At least three soldiers were killed and 52 others wounded in the fight between government forces and insurgents in Marawi city of the Philippines’s southern island of Mindanao.

Local radio DZBB quoted the military spokesperson as saying that the soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded.

In a separate interview, Colonel Romeo Brawner, Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force Marawi, said a final plan to crush holdover Maute militants in Marawi city is in place and will be implemented soon.

Brawner stressed the need to carefully plan the offensive to ensure the safety of the government forces and the undetermined number of civilians who were taken hostage by the militants.

There are indications that the militants will use the hostages as "human shields” or suicide bombers, he added. The government military is hoping the conflict could end in less than a month.

Gunmen who had pledged allegiance to the self-claimed Islamic State have occupied Marawi, a big city of Muslim in southern Philippines since May. Clashes between Philippine security forces and the insurgents have claimed more than 800 lives. In addition, more than 500,000 civilians have to flee.

The martial law which imposed on Mindanao has been extended till this year’s end to make it easier for security forces to sweep terrorists out of the south.-VNA