Monday, 18 December, 2017

AFP still verifying alleged rescue of Fr. Suganob

Freed Filipino priest faces long recovery period AFP still verifying alleged rescue of Fr. Suganob
Melinda Barton | 17 September, 2017, 16:38

He also asked Duterte to stop military air and ground assaults and for security forces to quickly leave Marawi and Lanao del Sur, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

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.

A Catholic priest held hostage for nearly four months in the besieged southern city of Marawi has been rescued hours after a deadly battle between Philippine soldiers and Islamic State-allied militants.

On May 30 he appeared in a propaganda video pleading for his life and asking the military to cease aerial bombardments.

Some women were forced to marry militants.

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.

Edgard Arevalo said they are still validating if Suganob was among the two hostages rescued by the government troops on Saturday evening.

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.

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

Military chief of staff Gen Eduardo Ano described the seizure of the mosque as an "enormous" military gain because it served as a battle command centre of the militants.

"We have an ongoing rescue operation at the main battle area. They wanted to surrender", Brawner said, adding that the surrenderers would be accorded due legal process.

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.

Philippine military officers have been saying for weeks they expected to regain control of the city within days but the militants have proven far better armed and trained than first thought.