Abducted priest seen alive as Islamists hold out in Philippines | Touch Latest Local,World,Tech,Entertainment,Health,Sport News
19 April 2018 00:00:00 AM Breaking News

• GENERAL

Abducted priest seen alive as Islamists hold out in Philippines

A Roman Catholic priest abducted by Islamist militants who seized parts of a southern Philippine city has been seen alive, the military said Monday, as troops pressed on with their offensive.

Air and artillery bombardment of enclaves occupied by the militants in the largely Muslim city of Marawi resumed after an eight-hour truce Sunday to allow residents to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera said the militants were deliberately burning houses and using improvised bombs, booby traps and hostages as human shields to delay the troops’ advance, five weeks into the fighting.

Hundreds of gunmen flying the black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group occupied parts of Marawi on May 23, triggering bloody fighting that has claimed nearly 400 lives according to an official count.

Father Teresito “Chito” Suganob, a Catholic priest assigned to Marawi, was taken hostage along with some parishioners early in the siege.

Herrera, spokesman for the military forces in Marawi, said the priest had been seen alive on Sunday in a part of the city still in the hands of the extremists.

“We don’t have details of his health. We were just told that he was sighted alive,” he told reporters, citing accounts from civilians rescued from the battle zone.

He also said there were about 100 civilian hostages still in the hands of the gunmen, being used as “human shields”, ammunition carriers and stretcher-bearers.

Fighting resumed with renewed fury on Monday, with government fighter jets and other aircraft seen carrying out bombing attacks.

“Our offensive operations have resumed and will continue so we can liberate Marawi at the soonest time possible,” Herrera said at a news conference in Marawi.

He said the bodies of two militants believed to be from the Middle East because of their physical features were found at the scene of an earlier airstrike, another sign that foreign fighters had joined the battle.

“These foreign terrorists involved in the hostilities are bomb experts. They are the ones facilitating the rigging of the buildings and houses with bombs,” Herrera said.

Eight foreign fighters, including those from Chechnya, Indonesia and Malaysia, were killed in the early days of the battle, the government has said.

Herrera said they were still trying to confirm reports that Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino militant said to be the leader of the Islamic State group in Southeast Asia, had escaped Marawi despite a military and police cordon.

An attempt by troops to arrest Hapilon in Marawi on May 23 triggered the rampage by the militants.

Hapilon was indicted in Washington for his involvement in the 2001 kidnapping of three Americans in the Philippines. He has a $5 million bounty on his head from the US government and is on its “most wanted” terror list.

Recommended

Loading...

Related Posts

Sean Spicer’s Teeny Little Slip-Up

It’s just so hard to be in the public eye these days. You make the tini

Read More

After Palm Sunday bombing, Egypt Church marks solemn Good Friday

Egyptian Copts observed a solemn Good Friday with prayers and fasting, as the

Read More

US imposes financial sanctions on CAR militia leaders

The United States has imposed financial sanctions against two militia leaders

Read More

34-year-old let off for murder at boys' home

MUMBAI: A 34-year-old man accused of killing a minor at a children's home at Mat

Read More

AFN All-Comers Meet: Obong runs seasons best in Port Harcourt

Mercy Obong has emerged victorious in a  time of 11.70s in the womenâ€

Read More

How to become resilient to the dreaded ‘no’

When your boss turns down your idea, it’s natural to feel wounded

Read More

n pics: Ladies Short Program at ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Ashley Wagner of the United States competes during Ladies Short Program at ISU

Read More

Somalia forces shoot dead 2 militants in attack near airport

A Somali police officer says security forces shot dead two Islamic extremist f

Read More

Touch 2017 Billionaires List: Meet The Richest People On The Planet

It was a record year for the richest people on earth, as the number of bil

Read More

Singer Tekno Gifts Fan N500K On Twitter…

Well, Twitter isn’t that bad after all!So this Twitter user (@MynameisNir

Read More

Also Read

NACOSS DEPARTMENTAL DAY_ PRESENTATION BY CODE FORUM

THE CODE FORUM.This group just keeps amassing me.thanks to this forum a lot of s

Read More

Mercy Aigbe’s husband, Lanre Gentry, remanded in Kirikiri prison

Lanre Gentry, the estranged husband of top Nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe, has b

Read More

Novak Djokovic survives scare to reach French Open fourth Open

Djokovic applauded Schwartzman's gutsy display at

Read More

2019: ACF declines support for only Buhari

Tells pro-Buhari group we aren’t partisanBy Ben Agande Kaduna—In

Read More

If You Ever Feel Phantom Cell Phone Vibrations, You May Have A Serious Problem.

You may have heard of a condition known as phantom limb, which is the sensation

Read More

The unforgivable mistake Sean Spicer makes every day

What Sean Spicer has done is inexcusable, and I cannot forgive him. I’m

Read More

Eid-El-Fitr : Ondo Muslims pray after Ramadan

The need to collectively condemn all forms of hate speeches in whatever guise to

Read More

Game of Thrones': Winter is finally here

The R-rated fable of noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne has

Read More

Gary Neville slams Arsenal attitude against Liverpool and says 'I'd stick them all on the transfer list'

Gary Neville launched a withering assessment of Arsenal's first half-performance

Read More

Happy Easter 2017! What is Good Friday, the meaning behind Easter Sunday and why do we celebrate with chocolate eggs?

It is the time of year when chocolate eggs and bunnies are beginning to fill sup

Read More