Marawi siege

Cops detain Maranaos headed to cemetery to honor Marawi siege victims

Froilan Gallardo
Cops detain Maranaos headed to cemetery to honor Marawi siege victims

Drieza Laninding

Screenshot from Lininding's Facebook Live

'I cannot understand why they held us. We did not plan a rally, and we are certainly not a threat,' says Moro Consensus Group chair Drieza Lininding.

Police detained on Sunday, May 23, a convoy of Maranaos headed to a public cemetery to honor the hundreds of people killed during the 2017 Marawi siege.

Sunday is the 4th year anniversary of the start of the conflict.

The convoy was flagged down by police on a road leading to the Maqbarra public cemetery in Marawi City, and was held for two hours. The Maqbarra cemetery is where the remains of at least 470 Maranaos who died during the siege are buried.

The acts were seen by the convoy as police harassment.

Drieza Lininding, Moro Consensus Group chairperson and a member of the convoy, said getting flagged down prevented them from holding a memorial activity in time. The group also included members of Davao City-based NGO Initiatives for International Dialogues, and several families displaced by the siege.

Liningding said police told members of the convoy that they had to be stopped because their vans were overloaded, and that authorities were being cautious because of supposed intelligence on an attempt to sneak in a crude bomb.

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He said the group protested, and pointed out that they were given permission beforehand by Task Force Bangon Marawi chair and Human Settlements Secretary Eduardo del Rosario to hold the memorial activity.

“I cannot understand why they held us. We did not plan a rally, and we are certainly not a threat,” Lininding said.

After two hours of negotiations, police allowed the convoy to proceed to the cemetery.

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Task Force Bangon Marawi and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) have conducted a media blitz in time for the siege’s 4th anniversary.

They brought over Manila-based journalists on board a Philippine Air Force C130 plane to witness the groundbreaking of mosques and a sports complex in the Most Affected Area (MAA) in Marawi City. – Rappler.com