Marawi priest Chito Soganub rescued from Maute captors

Postado Setembro 17, 2017

Also rescued, Dureza disclosed, was Lordvin Ocapio, a teacher at Dansalan College run by Protestant missionaries, where the two founders of a local terror group, brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, had studied.

Earlier, the military said bandits held their hostages in Bato Mosque.

In a related development, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Sunday confirmed that Catholic priest Teresito "Chito" Suganob, who had been held by the Maute group since May 23, was rescued Saturday night.

The priest had appeared in a video released by the militants pleading for his life and asking the military to cease their aerial bombardments.

Speaking outside the ruins of buildings destroyed in fierce clashes, Suganob made an emotional appeal to Duterte to save all of them, saying, the militants are ready to die for their religion. With fewer fighters, the militants have forced some of their hostages to join the fighting and have resorted to improvised bombs and booby traps to slow the military advance, he said.

Brawner said they had hoped to rescue numerous civilian hostages when they captured the mosque but they found no one.

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

Father Soganub is expected to be taken to meet president Rodrigo Duterte after receiving medical treatment.

Armed Forces chief of staff General Eduardo Año told reporters in Manila that "This (retaking of Bato mosque) enormous gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile strongholds".

An army commander, Col Romeo Brawner, said Sunday in a news conference in Marawi that troops were battling to eradicate up to 80 remaining militants who may be holding more than 40 hostages.

"If they surrender we will not shoot them".

Father Soganub was taken hostage along with about a dozen of his parishioners after hundreds of armed extremists flying the black flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed and occupied large parts of Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23.

"As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight", he said.