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Hostaged priest rescued by gov't troops in Marawi
17 September 2017, 03:22 | Glen Norman
Hostaged priest rescued by gov't troops in Marawi
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.
Father Teresito "Chito" Soganub was found abandoned with another hostage near a mosque early Sunday, one of three militant strongholds that have fallen to government forces over the past several days.
Father Soganub had been held captive since militants attacked his Saint Mary's Parish during the siege of Marawi on May 23.
The priest had appeared in a video released by the militants pleading for his life and asking the military to cease their aerial bombardments. They surfaced on social media where he sought the help of President Rodrigo Duterte to halt the offensive against the militants. Photos showing him, a young man and a woman slumped against a wall had also circulated on the Internet.
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Several hostages were reportedly last seen there, according to Galvez.
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.
Some women were forced to marry militants.
A Catholic priest and a civilian held hostage by local IS militants escaped from their captors and recovered by troops from the besieged city of Marawi in southern Philippines where fierce fighting is nearing its fifth month. "(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.
Fighting between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists have been raging for almost four months in Marawi, leaving at least 845 dead, a lot of them terrorists, and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Philippine military chief General Eduardo Ano described as "enormous" gains made by his soldiers over the weekend.
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.
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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.
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