Catholic priest, teacher recovered from IS militants in Marawi City

Smoke bellows from buildings in Marawi City's central district following aerial attacks from government forces. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

Smoke bellows from buildings in Marawi City's central district following aerial attacks from government forces. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

Military forces in the Philippines have captured the command center of the Takfiri Daesh militants in a southern city that the terrorists have occupied for almost four months.

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.

Earlier, the military said bandits held their hostages in Bato Mosque.

Several hostages were reportedly last seen there, according to Galvez.

A Maute gunman was also killed in the offensive a day earlier, September 16.

"The seizure of another historical mosque and key Maute strongholds is a big blow for the remaining members of Maute and Abu Sayyaf", he said. It has been pounding the battle area with air strikes throughout the week.

"About 600 soldiers were also reported injured", said Petinglay.

This developed as Colonel Romeo Brawner, the deputy head of Joint Task Force Marawi, disclosed that some Maute terrorists have responded favourably to the military's appeal that they surrender.

General Eduardo Ano, the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said: "The enormous military gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub".

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

Dureza said this is the second grand mosque in Marawi that has been taken by government troops.

Father Teresito Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi; and Lordvin Ocopio, who teaches at the Dansalan College Foundation Incorporated, escaped late Friday from a mosque used by militants as a base to attack soldiers.

In a text message, Dureza said Father Suganob was one of the hostages recovered by government troops near the Bato Mosque. "And in the course of fleeing, they were identified by the military and they were brought to a safer place" Medina said in the Inquirer report.

After a week of being hostaged, Suganob's video made its round online, where he was pleading for the government, particularly President Rodrigo Duterte, to help him.

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