Philippine rebels, hostages remain in Marawi, fight continues: army

MANILA (Reuters) - About 30 Islamist rebels holding an estimated 20 hostages remain in Marawi City and military operations continue, an army spokesman said on Tuesday, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier declaration that the southern city had been liberated.

“The declaration of the president hopefully gives way for the entry and start of rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Marawi from the ashes,” military spokesman Restituto Padilla told news channel ANC.

“The fight for the remaining ground forces continues.”

The military was uncertain whether Malaysian operative Mahmud Ahmad was still in the city but he was not known for his skills as a fighter and was therefore not a threat, Padilla said.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Paul Tait