Marawi priest Chito Soganub rescued from Maute captors
Marawi priest Chito Soganub rescued from Maute captors
MARAWI. Fr. Chito Suganob
17 September, 2017, 17:37
After almost four months of fighting, Philippine government troops have retaken a historic mosque along with two other major strongholds of ISIL-linked militants in the war-torn Marawi City.
Since hundreds of heavily armed militants flying the black flag of Islamic State seized the city of 300,000 on May 23, they have engaged security forces in ferocious street-to-street battles that have left more than 800 dead.
The Bato Ali Mosque is the third worship site in Marawi City that combined police and military contingents have reclaimed from Maute gunmen since early September.
"As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight", he said. "Before retaking the mosque from the Maute, a 5-hour intense gun battle ensued in the area, where four soldiers were wounded when an abandoned improvised explosive device detonated". It has been pounding the battle area with air strikes throughout the week.
General Eduardo Ano, the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said: "The enormous military gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub".
"About 600 soldiers were also reported injured", said Petinglay.
This developed as Colonel Romeo Brawner, the deputy head of Joint Task Force Marawi, disclosed that some Maute terrorists have responded favourably to the military's appeal that they surrender.
The Maute group has found itself in a major battle with government troops after the terror group attacked Marawi last May.
"They are retreating while we are assaulting but in the process of doing so, we are encountering many improvised explosive devices so we can not just advance".
Col. Edgard Arevalo, military public affairs chief, said in a separate statement that the Bato Mosque, considered the second grand one, was retaken at 5 p.m. on Saturday, after five hours of fighting between state forces and terrorists.
Recently, Suganob and other hostages appeared in a video released by the terrorists in which they appealed to the government to stop their aerial bombings particularly in Marawi's central business district.
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.
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