Task Force Marawi: Maute hostages forced to fight gov't troops

Cheryl Sanders
September 17, 2017

"Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defence who was also appointed by Duterte as the martial law administrator for Mindanao, earlier said government forces were close to retaking the entire city".

Hundreds of armed extremists flying the black flag of the Islamic State movement in the Middle East occupied Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23.

Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the task force battling the militants, said the military had encountered some of the heaviest resistance in recovering the mosque.

Several hostages were reportedly last seen there, according to Galvez.

"As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight", he said. It has been pounding the battle area with air strikes throughout the week.

"This enormous (military) gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub", military chief General Eduardo Ano said in a statement.

In addition to increasing their numbers with civilians, the Maute group also has been reported to be augmenting their production of improvised explosive devices by using dud bombs dropped by government forces.

He added they have not found any hostages inside the Bato mosque, but found a body of Maute group member.

More than 800 terrorists are also believed to have been killed since May 23, when the groups of the Maute brothers - Abdullah and Omar - backed by Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon took over mosques, churches, some government facilities including including hospitals, schools, police stations, banks and other private buildings.

"Kaya hindi po kami pwedeng magbigay ng detalye [The reason why we can't give out details], because it might compromise it might jeopardize our rescue operations".

Father Teresito Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi; and Lordvin Ocopio, who teaches at the Dansalan College Foundation Incorporated, escaped late Friday from a mosque used by militants as a base to attack soldiers. They surfaced on social media where he sought the help of President Rodrigo Duterte to halt the offensive against the militants.

The police said Maute terrorists raped numerous women they held inside the mosques as shields to prevent military forces from closing in.

Other reports by iNewsToday