The Armed Forces of the Philippines said that 13 government personnel and 31 terrorists have been killed in a gun battle in besieged Marawi City. 

At least 44 people have been killed in the ongoing fighting in Marawi City in the southern Philippines, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said late Thursday night.

Thirteen government troops were killed since the gun battle started on Tuesday afternoon. Six soldiers were killed in fresh clashes Thursday, bringing the death toll among soldiers at 11, the Western Mindanao Command said. Two policemen were also killed.

Meanwhile, 18 members of the Maute group were killed in fresh gun battle as government troops cleared two bridges heading towards Bangulo. This brings the fatalities on the terrorist groups to 31.

“As of this report, 31 terrorists were already neutralised and six high-powered firearms were recovered by the troops,” said Army’s First Infantry Division commander Brigadier General Rolando Bautista.

“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in the areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorists’ presence,” he added.

In a press briefing earlier, the military said they have also launched ‘precise’ air strikes to go after the remaining 30 to 40 members of the Maute group. They have also deployed army tanks, special operations forces, as well as attack helicopters, to retake the predominantly Muslim city.

Marawi is located on Mindanao, the largest of a group of islands known for their long-running conflict between Muslim separatists and the Philippine government.  

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on Wednesday in the entire Mindanao, although he has indicated he may expand it to the entire country.