Today marks the 103rd day of the siege in Marawi. Last Wednesday, Duterte said that the liberation of the city was stalled because he “stopped a plan to bomb the mosques.” In an attempt to speed the operation up, Duterte allowed the military to decide whether or not to bomb mosques to eliminate Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups in Marawi.
“The military had long wanted to bomb the mosque to capture or kill the leaders there, and in the process, sacrifice the hostages who are all Filipinos, maybe Maranaos and a mingling of Christians, Tagalog, there inside,” Duterte said.
Then, on Friday, Duterte made a U-turn on his comments. Duterte stressed that “the government should consider the cultural and ideological implications” when it comes to destroying mosques.
“We cannot destroy the mosque… It will breed an unending hatred. What will it give us in terms of goodwill? I said, ‘No, it will just create more animosity and outright hostility in the government. The Maranaos will not forgive us,’” Duterte said.
*Most recent death toll* (according to the Philippine government):
Published by The War Files