Marawi bishop 'happy' over rescue of abducted priest

Marawi bishop 'happy' over rescue of abducted priest

When asked if those being rescued or were rescued are Fr. Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi, and Dansalan College teacher Lordvin Ocopio, Arevalo said they are still validating the information.

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.

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.

The priest had appeared in a video released by the militants pleading for his life and asking the military to cease their aerial bombardments. With fewer fighters, the militants have forced some of their hostages to join the fighting and have resorted to improvised bombs and booby traps to slow the military advance, he said.

Father Teresito "Chito" Suganob was held hostage for nearly four months in besieged Marawi.

Military sources said Father Soganub had already been flown to Davao city, where he was set to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a text message, Dureza said Father Suganob was one of the hostages recovered by government troops near the Bato Mosque. "They wanted to surrender", Brawner said, adding that the surrenderers would be accorded due legal process.

About 600 militants, waving Islamic State-style black flags, seized commercial buildings, mosque and houses in the city's central business district on May 23 after an army-led assault failed to get Hapilon and other militant leaders in a safe house in the mosque-studded city.

Militants fled the Bato Mosque which the militants were using as a control centre after a fierce five-hour battle.

"As follow up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight", he said.

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.

At least 860 people, including more than 660 militants and 147 troops and police, have been killed since the siege began in Marawi, regarded as a centre of Islamic faith in the southern third of the largely Roman Catholic nation.