Hostaged Marawi priest Chito Soganub rescued

Taken from Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub’s Facebook account

Taken from Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub’s Facebook account

A cabinet official on Sunday reported the rescue of a Catholic priest held hostage for close by four months by Daesh-linked terrorists who laid siege to Marawi City on May 23.

Earlier, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza announced on Facebook that the two were rescued at around 11:00 p.m. on September 16 near the Bato Mosque.

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, said they can not still provide any details in order not to jeopardize the lives of the soldiers and other hostages there. "(But) we can not give you details as of now lest we imperil the lives not only of our soldiers but more so that of the hostages", Arevalo said.

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"The duo revealed (initially to the rescuing troops) that they escaped when their captors had a heavy firefight against the government forces in the said location..."

Security forces have engaged in ferocious street-to-street combat and launched airstrikes in their efforts to expel the fighters from Marawi, in a conflict that has raised fears that ISIS is looking to establish a South-east Asian base in the Philippines.

However Dureza said no other information has been provided regarding the rescue.

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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. "They wanted to surrender", Brawner said, adding that the surrenderers would be accorded due legal process.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Eduardo Año also said in a statement Saturday that the retaking of the two Maute strongholds has "further weakened" the terror group. "That's why I've been told by ground commanders that the end is near, just a little more patience", Lorenzana stressed.

The 2 hostages reportedly escaped late Saturday, hours after the military retook the Bato mosque and a school from the extremists, an ABS-CBN source said.

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