Philippines rescues all hostages held in Marawi hinh anh 1The Philippines' military forces patrol in Marawi. (Photo: EPA/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Filipino government forces have rescued all hostages held by the pro-Islamic States (IS) militants that took over southern Marawi city for five months, Colonel Romeo Brawner told a press conference on October 22.

“We believe there are no more remaining hostages,” he said, adding that the number of hostages released was 20.

According to Brawner, firefights were still going on inside the main battle area in Marawi on October 22, but IS-linked Maute militants were occupying only one building there.

He noted that the conflict has so far claimed the lives of nearly 100 civilians, 165 soldiers and policemen and displaced thousands of people since it broke out on May 23.

During the battle, 919 terrorists were killed with a total of 864 firearms recovered from them.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared on October 20 that he will not lift the martial law in Mindanao even after the government forces recaptured Marawi. It is needed to crush all terrorist groups in the region, he said.

The martial law was imposed on the entire Mindanao few hours after the Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants took over Marawi on May 23.-VNA