Gov't troops retake Maute lair Dansalan College

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — Government forces inch closer toward liberating Marawi City as they gain control of Dansalan College, one of the strongholds of the Maute fighters when their attack began over a month ago.

The military said they have recovered high-powered firearms in the college, which was Abdullah Maute's lair. Dansalan College was also where the Maute brothers had their early education.

"The school is host to some high rise structures that serve as machine gun nest and snipers' vantage position of terrorist elements. Soldiers are gradually taking over terrorist held structures as enemy strong points fall one by one to government forces," Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said on Tuesday.

Herrera said a foreign-looking fighter, probably a Singapore national, was killed inside the school during military operations.

Intense ground and air attacks persist in the area as the military continues to fight for Marawi's freedom.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said more than 30 barangays needed massive rehabilitation because of the ongoing war.

"Doon po nagkaroon ng matinding bakbakan, especially the business center, kung saan doon po nag-stay itong mga grupo na ito dahil nandiyan po yung malalaking buildings kung saan doon sila nagkukubli," Gandamra said.

[Translation: Intense firefights occur in the business center, where members of the terror group stay as they hide in huge buildings.]

Herrera said troopers still rescued civilians trapped in the city.

"Daily stream of civilians are being rescued while battle rage and as government forces continue to gain ground and foothold on enemy stronglholds. Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of WestMinCom emphasized that the clearing operations put utmost consideration on the safety of trapped civilians," Herrera said.

In a press briefing Tuesday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the number of civilians killed by terrorists was 39, while those rescued by government troops stood at 1,717.

He added 337 terrorists have died in the conflict, while 85 government troopers were killed in action.

"The (Armed Forces of the Philippines) reiterates its call to all our citizens to practice the concept of shared responsibility in security by being vigilant, alert, and conscious in the immediate environs wherever they are and to report to the authorities suspicious persons or items left unattended immediately," Abella said.