Mother of Maute child soldier urges him to return home
MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Rowhanisa Abdul Jabar, the mother whose missing son resembled a child soldier of the Islamic State-inspired Maute group, prepared an audio recording urging her child to come back to her, the military said on Monday, September 4.
Western Mindanao Command’s Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez said Jabar came to Marawi City seeking assurance from the Armed Forces of the Philippines' that they will not harm the boy, who is only 10 years old.
Jabar fears that her son, Ram-ram Abdul Jabbar Cabugatan, who was kidnapped from their home in Tondo, Manila on July 4, 2010, is fighting the government in Marawi City.
She took to Facebook to seek information about the boy. (READ: 'Is he my son?' Maute child soldier resembles missing boy)
"Siya na nga ba 'yan... kasi ako bilang isang ina, na nalayo nang almost 8 years ang anak, hindi ko na po makilala, except sa sinasabi nila na lukso ng dugo," Jabar said in a Facebook post. (Is that him? I'm a mother who has been separated from her child for almost 8 years. I can no longer recognize him, but I strongly feel he could be my son.)
Joint Task Force Ranao commander Colonel Romeo Brawner said the military gave Jabar assurances that they will not harm her son or any other children.
Brawner also said that Jabar made an audio recording addressed to the boy, urging him to surrender and come back to her.
“She can communicate in Tagalog and Maranao, we made a recording, which we are broadcasting in the battle zone,” Brawner said.
Brawner added that the recording was also translated into Tausug, as it was possible that Jabar’s son may have been taken and brought to Basilan.
Brawner said that the recording will be made available to the media as soon as possible.
“Who knows, maybe when he hears the voice of his mother, he will surrender and hopefully he will also bring with him other children,” Brawner said.
Galvez said that they will be dropping leaflets into the main battle zone to encourage the surrender of terrorists.
Galvez said that the Maute terror group has been using child soldiers in their fight.
“Some of the child warriors are children of the terrorists themselves or sons of former rebels,” Galvez said.
Galvez added that they have coordinated with imams in Lanao del Sur to prevent the recruitment of children for fighting.
Article 38 The United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child bans the participation or recruitment of children below 15 years old in conflict. – Rappler.com