Two more Maute fighters killed in Marawi

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Marawi City (CNN Philippines, November 2) — Two more Maute fighters, including the alleged right-hand man of terror leader Isnilon Hapilon, were killed, the military said on Thursday.

Military officials said the two fighters engaged in a firefight with government troops in Marawi City's war zone on Wednesday night.

Joint Task Force Ranao deputy commander Romeo Brawner told CNN Philippines one Maute fighter whose identity is yet to be known and Abu Talha, who is Abu Sayyaf leader Hapilon's trusted aide for years, were killed while hiding in a building in the war zone.

"It means that he is trusted by Isnilon Hapilon and could perhaps been the next leader if he wasn't killed here in Marawi," Brawner said.

However, he clarified Talha is not considered as the temporary leader of the remaining Maute fighters in the main battle area.

The Maute stragglers were spotted by soldiers conducting clearing operations around 9 p.m.. They fought the troops with high-caliber rifle guns until they were killed.

"Apparently the stragglers were trying to escape from the main battle area when they chanced upon the government forces who were actually surrounding the main battle area," Brawner said.

The Marawi police Scene of the Crime Operatives is now processing and getting samples of the terrorists' remains.

They will then be buried at a mass grave in Maqbara Public Cemetery on the outskirts of Marawi.

Brawner said their deaths are an important development in their move to flush out the remaining Maute stragglers.

Another Maute straggler was killed in the main battle area in Marawi on October 31.

An Indonesian national was arrested in clearing operations in Marawi on Wednesday.

Authorities said Muhammad Ilham Syaputra was involved in the Marawi siege. The foreign national told authorities there were still around 20 remaining Maute stragglers in the battle area.

Brawner said, however, there is no need for them to reactivate their combat operations against the Maute, as the resistance is not significant and Marawi remains well-secured from any attack.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is continuing clearing operations in the city to clear it of remaining threats.

Over 900 Maute members and foreign fighters have been killed in the five months of intense firefight between terrorists and government forces in Marawi.