Filipino troops rescue kidnapped Catholic priest

18 September, 2017, 01:59 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Smoke bellows from buildings in Marawi City's central district following aerial attacks from government forces. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

In a phone interview with Rappler, Dureza said Soganub was rescued near Bato Mosque.

While troops moved in for the final push, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jess Dureza announced the rescue of Fr. Teresito Suganob and an unidentified companion near the Bato mosque at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

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".

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, said that they still can not provide any details in order not to jeopardize the lives of the soldiers and other hostages there. "We are ready for that".

"Kaya hindi po kami pwedeng magbigay ng detalye [The reason why we can't give out details], because it might compromise it might jeopardize our rescue operations".

Some 600 terrorists have been killed since May 23 when the Maute Group attacked Marawi and took over some government buildings, hospitals, schools and banks. "We have to be very careful", he said. "It was a fiercely fought five hours before government security forces subdued the terrorists who were strategically located in the buildings", he said.

He also said Suganob, a vicar general of the prelature of Marawi was taken hostage in an undisclosed location.

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Military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla meanwhile told ABS-CBN News that he could not yet confirm the news pending official reports from Marawi troops.

"The President has stated that he would minimize foreign travels for now to attend to pressing domestic concerns, such as the rehabilitation of Marawi", Abella said.

Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña on Sunday expressed delight after learning about the rescue of Catholic priest Teresito "Chito" Suganob.

In Marawi, gunfire could still be heard ringing out in the distance as troops backed by armored vehicles, pressed towards militant positions. Philippine aircraft and an American P-3 Orion spy plane flew above the city.

Hundreds of armed extremists flying the black flag of the IS movement occupied Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23.

More than 800 militants, government troops, and civilians have since been killed in ongoing airstrikes and streets battles, which have destroyed large parts of the once-bustling city and forced thousands of local residents to flee their homes.

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