November 22, 2017

Marawi bishop 'happy' over rescue of abducted priest

17 September 2017, 07:19 | Taylor George

Smoke rises from buildings amid fighting in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines

Smoke rises from buildings amid fighting in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines

Rear-Admiral Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, told The Philippine Daily Inquirer Father Soganub escaped with another hostage, Mr Lordvin Ocopio, a teacher at Dansalan College, during the assault. As of now, we can not still give details.

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

But Arevalo confirmed the rescue resulted from the military's successful operation to retake the Masjid Bato Ali Mosque and adjoining buildings used by the terrorists for their "final stand" in the siege that prompted President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte to declare martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao.

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has yet to confirm the rescue of Father Teresito "Chito" Suganob, the parish priest who was taken as one of the hostages by the Maute terror group since they launched attacks in Marawi City on May 23.

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

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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.

"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.

A Catholic priest and a civilian held hostage by local IS militants escaped from their captors and recovered by troops from the besieged city of Marawi in southern Philippines where fierce fighting is nearing its fifth month.

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

"To those who would wish to get more details, please wait for the official announcement coming from the AFP and/or the Palace in order not to jeopardize the ongoing military operations", Dureza said.

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