Presence of foreign fighters in Marawi confirmed by former hostage

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – A former hostage of the Maute Group in Marawi confirmed the presence of foreign fighters in the Marawi war zone. 

Lordvin Acopio, a teacher at Dansalan College, said he saw at least 11 foreign fighters while he was a hostage inside the battle area. He said the foreign fighters trained him to attend to wounded fighters, but sometimes he also served as interpreter to the foreigners. 

Acopio said he met 7 Indonesians, 3 Malaysians, and one Arab. The Indonesians and Malaysian looked like Filipinos and he didn't know they were foreigners until he personally met them. 

He said the Indonesians were mostly bombers while the Malaysians and the Arab were fighters in the frontline. 

Local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf attacked Marawi on May 23 in a bid to gain territory to establish a caliphate. 

The leaders of both groups have pledged allegiance to international terrorist network Islamic State. 

The military previously said at least 8 foreign fighters were killed in the early days of the war. It said Malaysian Mahoud Ahmad was also among the leaders and financiers of the attack. –