The abducted priest Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub has been rescued from the Islamic State-inspired terrorists during the intensive operation of the government troops on Saturday night at around 11 p.m. after three months of being held captive by Maute fighters.
Lordvin Acopi, a teacher from Dansalan College was also rescued together with Suganob who is a Vicar General of the Prelature of Marawi City.
The two captives were found in front of Building Zulu 17 in Sangcay village, the Inquirer reported.
In a Facebook post, Secretary Jesus “Jess” Dureza, presidential adviser on Peace Process (OPPAP) confirmed that the information was from the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (Phividec) Industrial Authority CEO and administrator Franklin M. Quijano, a former Iligan City Mayor.
“Got this just now from Franklin M. Quijano: For info sir father Chito Suganob together with one other was rescued by troops near Bato mosque.” Dureza wrote in his Facebook post.
He added that it was the 2nd grand mosque in Marawi city that has been taken over by the government troops.
Bato Ali Mosque served as one of the main strongholds of the Maute terrorist that was recaptured by the military on Saturday night and also functioned as the command center of ISIS-Maute group and Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
“We cannot give you details as of now lest we imperil the lives not only of our soldiers but more so that of the hostages,” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the public affairs office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
It was also reported that the Jamaitul Islamia Marawi Foundation (JIMF) was also reclaimed by the government forces during the operation in the conflict-torn Marawi.
“It was a fiercely fought five hours before government security forces subdued the terrorists who were strategically located in the buildings in the periphery of the mosque and JIMF,” Gen. Eduardo Año, AFP chief of staff, said in a statement sent to reporters on Sunday.
“This enormous [military] gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub,” Año said.
“As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight,” he added. “We are ready for that.”
As of now, 670 Maute group members, 47 civilians, and 147 government troops have been killed.