Groups appeal for truce to free civilians from center of conflict

© Provided by GMA News Online Government troops prepare to assault Maute gunmen positions during a battle to flush them out of Marawi City on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Humanitarian groups and local government leaders are trying to negotiate for a few hours of ceasefire at the main area of conflict in Marawi City to rescue hundreds of civilians still trapped in skirmishes as the military continued its offensives to free the city from the ISIS-inspired Maute jihadists.
Reporting from Marawi City, dzBB's Benjie Liwanag said that humanitarian groups led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, respected Muslim elders, and local government officials have asked for a four-hour of cessation of hostilities, especially in the Mapandi business district.
Over 200 residents have remained trapped in an area in Mapandi as armed hostilities entered its 12th day this Sunday, after Maute jihadists attacked the city on May 23.
Government security forces have been trying to retake from the Maute Group a strategic bridge leading to the center of Mapandi, the report said. 
The bridge is the only passage way out for trapped residents in Mapandi where fighting is fiercest as jihadists occupy strategic sniping positions and use civilians as human shields.
On Saturday, a sniper bullet cut a civilian down as he tried to scamper to a place where rescuers had been waiting.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that he could finish off the the terrorists holed-up in Marawi City in 24 hours with the unrestrained use of air power, but the lives of innocent civilians would be sacrificed if he did so.
"I can end this war in 24 hours, alam mo bombahan ko lang lahat yan, I have ten new jets... all I have to do is bomb the whole place and level it to the ground," Duterte told reporters during his visit to wounded soldiers at Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro.
"But since we are in a civilized society, we are a member of United Nations and the Geneva Convention protocol... nahihirapan ako and we had to do it to the least maximum collateral damage, lalo na civilians.

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