Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Philippines: Govt troops retake historical mosque

Philippines: Govt troops retake historical mosque

Col Arevalo said security forces retook at around 5pm on Saturday (Sept 16) the Bato Mosque and the Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation building that the militants had been using as their control centre.

Father Soganub had been held captive since militants attacked his Saint Mary's Parish during the siege of Marawi on May 23.

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. Photos showing him, a young man and a woman slumped against a wall had also circulated on the Internet.

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

Father Teresito Soganub, whose common nickname is Chito, but pictured here with a "Sito" name tag, is among the hostages held by local terrorists in Marawi City since May 23.

"They now force the hostages, especially the male hostages to fight with them, " Brawner said on GMA 7 news program 24 Oras.

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

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

Military officials expect the battle in there to end soon as most of the remaining Maute terrorists' command and controlled areas have been seized by troops. "That's our arrangement", he said.

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".

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

At least 860 people, including more than 660 militants and 147 troops and police, have been killed since the siege began in Marawi, regarded as a centre of Islamic faith in the southern third of the largely Roman Catholic nation.

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