16 suspected Maute Group members arrested
MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Soldiers have arrested 16 suspected members of the terrorist Maute Group more than a week after the terrorists laid siege on Marawi City.
An intelligence officer of the Philippine Marines, who asked not to be named, said the men were arrested along the Agus River near the Banggolo Bridge.
"They swam across the river. They are under investigation," the marine officer said, adding that authorities need to verify their identities.
The media were prohibited from interviewing the men.
The marines herded the media to a corner of the road, saying the police will pass by and they needed the road cleared.
Guarded by the marines from the 5th Landing Battalion team, the men were fetched in a mosque by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Public Battalion.
Shirtless and handcuffed with their heads covered with clothes, the suspects were transported by a convoy of police cars.
At the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the men were processed and put under investigation.
The marine officer said they tried talking to the men, who claimed to be construction workers trapped in Dansalan Junior College Marawi City.
The marines have been holding ground in and around the Banggolo Bridge, a crucial passage that took government almost a week to regain from the extremists.
Meanwhile, at least 182 trapped residents of Marawi City were rescued overnight by security forces and a team of the provincial government's crisis commitee on Friday, June 2.
Some residents trapped in the combat zone have also recounted the daring escape of swimming the Agus River to stay alive.
The ground commander in Marawi City, Major General Rolando Bautista, added on Saturday that the military has now shifted its focus to rescuing hostages. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com
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