How did ISIS militants, hostages escape Marawi mosque undetected?
MARAWI CITY – Dozens of local ISIS militants and their hostages managed to escape undetected from a mosque they used to attack security forces in the besieged city of Marawi.
The daring escape was only discovered after troops managed to advance and eventually recaptured the mosque from militants last week hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Marawi. The military trumpeted the “liberation” of the mosque, but it did not say how ISIS fighters and their captives managed to escape from thousands of troops who surrounded Marawi, and spy planes and drones monitoring the siege since May 23.
The fate of the hostages, including a Catholic priest and church workers, remains unknown.
Duterte, wearing a Kevlar helmet and a bullet-proof vest, inspected troops in the battlefront and spoke to them. “The President also congratulated the troops for defending Marawi from terror elements and for successfully retaking the Islamic Center yesterday, a structure that was maintained as the Daesh-inspired terrorist group’s command and control for the longest time before it was retaken,” said Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.
It was his 3rd visit to Marawi since the fighting began when militants occupied the city in an effort to put up an Islamic province in the restive region. Security officials also briefed Duterte on the progress of the military operations against the militants.
In his talk with the soldiers, Duterte assured his full support to the military and police forces fighting ISIS. “I would like to reiterate this, I will never abandon you as long as you are doing the right thing. This would include fighting against the terrorists groups, the drug lords or the common criminals as long as you are doing your sworn duty to enforce the law and protect the republic. Let me emphasize however that you must do your job in accordance with the law,” he said.
Duterte was accompanied by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano, Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo Ano and Army Chief Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda.
Cayamora Maute – who is arrested June 6, 2017 in Davao City – and one of his wives and two sons appear on this wanted terrorists poster.