.50-cal bullet kills PRC-ARMM employee, wounds another in Marawi

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Marawi's landscape, devastated by nonstop fighting between government and terrorists, and the punishing strikes mounted by the Air Force. (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — An employee of the Professional Regulatory Commission in the Autonomous Region in Mindanao was killed and a colleague was wounded in Marawi City when an apparent stray .50-caliber bullet struck them Thursday morning.

Marvin Ablando and Sandra Arnica Usman were in a vehicle on its way to the Lanao del Sur Capitol when it was struck by the bullet, which is used for heavy machineguns and sniper rifles, right in front of the gate of the Mindanao State University campus.

The bullet hit Ablando, who was in the passenger seat, in the head and then exited, grazing the head of Usman, who was seated behind him.

The two were rushed to the Amai Pakpak Medical Cente where Ablando died.

The incident prompted the Lanao del Sur provincial crisis management council to repeat warnings for civilians not to return to Marawi because of the continued danger from wayward bullets. Authorities also urged residents and students of MSU to take extra precautions.

Last weekend, Nora Jarlata, an elementary school teacher, was also hit by a .50-caliber bullet while in her house.

Fighting between government forces and extremist gunmen, which began May 23 and prompted President Rodrigo Duterte, is still raging.