Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

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

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

The military chief of the city of Marawi, which Daesh terrorists took over in May, said on Sunday that forces had captured the militants' command center after a fierce battle and were now engaged in a mopping-up operation.

In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the two rescued hostages are Catholic priest Fr. Teresito "Chito" Soganub, who released a video in May 2017 urging government forces to cease the aerial bombings in Marawi; and Lordvin Ocopio, a professor from Dansalan College - a Protestant college in Marawi City.

But Colonel Edgard Arevalo, the military's public affairs chief, said: "We are still validating that information".

Military sources said Father Soganub had already been flown to Davao city, where he was set to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Fighting between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists has been raging for almost four months in Marawi, leaving at least 845 dead, majority terrorists, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

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

Troops retook Bato mosque and Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation (JIMF), two Maute strongholds, Saturday.

Brawner, however, said: "If they are bearing arms, and they're fighting against the government forces, they are considered combatants, and they will be treated as such". "We are ready for that".

More than 800 militants, government troops, and civilians have since been killed in ongoing airstrikes and streets battles, which have destroyed large parts of the once-bustling city and forced thousands of local residents to flee their homes.

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