CLARK, Philippines — The Latest on the Philippine fight to end the militant siege of Marawi (all times local):
The Philippines defense secretary says the defeat of pro-Islamic State group militants in Marawi helps prevent the spread of extremism in Asia.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared the last militants who had laid siege to the southern city “finished” on Monday after the last group of gunmen were found dead.
He spoke at a meeting of Southeast Asian defense ministers in Clark, Philippines. “In crushing thus far the most serious attempt to export violent extremism and radicalism in the Philippines and the region, we have contributed to preventing its spread in Asia.”
He said the achievement shows how regional cooperation can advance against the spread of terrorism.
Malaysia’s defense minister says the siege of a Philippine city by pro-Islamic State group militants is a wakeup call for the region.
The last militants in southern Marawi city were declared “finished” on Monday, ending a five-month siege that raised worry of the group gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia. Some of the militants were from other countries, including Malaysia.
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein spoke while attending a Southeast Asian defense ministers’ meeting in Clark, Philippines.
He said, “We have to be very careful. What happened in Marawi can happen anywhere. It’s a wake-up call for all of us.”
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared the last of the pro-Islamic State group militants in southern Marawi city were “finished.”
He told reporters Monday in Clark that troops recovered 42 bodies of the last group of militant stragglers.
He said, “Those are the last group of stragglers of Mautes and they were caught in one building so there was a firefight, so they were finished.”
Two security officials had told The Associated Press earlier Monday that troops had found the bodies after capturing the building where the militants made their final stand.
Lorenzana said hostages the militants had held were recovered a few days earlier. He said, “There are no more militants inside Marawi City.”
The Marawi siege involving hundreds of black flag-waving gunmen was launched exactly five months ago.