MANILA, Philippines – Troops sweeping the battle area in Marawi City recovered a firearms cache in Lake Lanao, according to the military.
“Thirty firearms had already been recovered. It is assumed that more firearms are still under the lake,” said Task Group Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner.
“It is believed that the terrorists threw their weapons into the lake during the last hours of the firefight when they smelled defeat and when they were about to make their final escape,” he added.
The military acknowledged some terrorists may have escaped after an Indonesian fighter, Mohamadin Ilham Syaputra, was arrested outside the battle area.
“It’s possible but very minimal,” said Brawner. The lake was heavily patrolled by the navy, coast guard, and maritime police. (READ: ‘Super size’ brigade to stay behind to secure Marawi)
One of the soldiers conducting clearing operations in the battle area dove in the lake when he saw what appeared to be a weapon at the shallow part of the waters.
More firearms were recovered when other troops participated in the search. (WATCH: Documentary | Marawi: 153 days of war)
Even after the war, the military continues clearing operations inside the battle area. It also strictly oversees access to several barangays in Marawi City to make sure the entry of civilians is controlled. (READ: Marawi: 153 days and more)
Martial law remains enforced in the entire Mindanao until December 31. (READ: World leaders meet in PH amid post-Marawi security concerns) – Rappler.com