MANILA, Philippines – What is the cost of leaving the Marawi City battle area? For Indonesian alleged terrorist Muhammad Syahputra, it means killing an ally, as he killed his "buddy" from the battlefield in order to flee.
This was announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa on Monday, November 6, during a press conference presenting Syahputra.
"According to him yung kasi, nung dwindling na yung kanilang resources at kanilang
will to fight ay bumababa na, 'yung mga hardcore nila nagduda na baka merong magsipaglayasan so nag-assign sila [ng buddy]," Dela Rosa said, explaining the stragglers' system to prevent anyone's escape.
(According to him, when their resources were dwindling and their will to fight was diminishing, the hardcore [terrorists] started to doubt and worried if they would be deserted so they assigned buddies.)
A Filipino Tausug was assigned to Syahputra, Dela Rosa said. Asked for the identity of the killed fighter, Dela Rosa said Syahputra apparently forgot his buddy's name. (READ: The war in Marawi: 153 days and more)
"Ang unang ginawa niya, pinatay niya 'yung kan'yang buddy, para makalayas siya at
doon siya sa Lanao Lake lumangoy, at nagtago for 3 hours," Dela Rosa said.
(What he did was to kill his buddy so that he could escape through Lanao Lake then hide for 3 hours.)
There, he was captured by cops and soldiers conducting clearing operations after local officials found him running away on November 1. (READ: Marawi still 'dangerous place' due to Maute stragglers)
Dela Rosa's account contradicted the claim of the military. Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Colonel Romeo Brawner said on Sunday, November 5, that instead of one companion, Syahputra killed two to escape.
This comes as the government conducts its final sweep in clearing the war-torn city, as terrorist stragglers – who still choose to fight despite the military and police declaring an end to combat operations – remain. – Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.