Monday, June 26, 2017

Army, PNP intel units checking reports abducted priest still alive

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26): Army, PNP intel units checking reports abducted priest still alive

Police and military intelligence units are now validating reports by extricated civilians from Marawi that Catholic priest Teresito "Chito" Suganob is alive and still being held hostage by militants somewhere in Lanao del Sur.

Chief Supt. Reuben Sindac, police regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-ARMM), said the regional intelligence service is coordinating with the local counterparts in the towns surrounding Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Western Mindanao Command chief, also said in a phone interview that undercover agents are now combing communities in Lanao del Sur for possible safe houses where the priest and other hostages are being kept.

Suganob, lay workers and worshipers were snatched while inside the St. Mary’s Church in Marawi City by Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists after they attack Marawi City on May 23.

“We have information from rescued civilians last Sunday that Fr. Chito is still alive," Galvez said, adding it gave Church leaders some hope. "This information is being checked now,” Galvez added.

Reports from Marawi City said the terrorists have forwarded conditions for the release of priest and other captives.

Galvez and Sindac refused to confirm or deny the reported terrorists demands.

Suganob, a priest assigned in Marawi the past 15 years, had aired an appeal in a video uploaded by his captors in the internet, asking President Duterte to call off the offensives.

The request was denied.

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