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Sunday, 28 August 2016

About 20 fully armed men raided the Lanao Del Sur provincial jail Saturday night, freed 28 inmates along with eight suspected local terrorists



OZAMIZ CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Members of a local terrorist groups escaped the Lanao del Sur Provincial Jail on Saturday, August 27, after 20 fully armed men stormed the prison, located in Marawi City.

"Heavily armed men wielding RPGs, Soviet-made AK 47, M16 rifles and other high-powered weapon stormed Lanao Sur Provincial Jail in Marawi City Saturday afternoon and freed 8 recently arrested members of an alleged local terror group," police said in a statement Sunday, August 28.

Authorities believe that the attack was carried by members of the local terrorist gang Maute Group, in their attempt to free their leader Hashim Balawag Maute.

“Clearly this is a rescue operation aimed at freeing their members,” Marawi City Chief of Police Chief Inspector Parson Asadil said.

“Our accounting showed that 23 prisoners escaped during the assault,” Asadil said.

Asadil said that the armed men even carried rocket propelled grenades during the attack on the provincial jail.

The 8 members of the Maute group were just arrested Monday, August 22, after they were detained for carrying weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur.

Those detained including Maute, the leader of the Maute Group who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS); Abdul Jabbar Tominaman Macabading; Jamil Batoa Amerul; Muhammad Sianodin Mulok; and Omar Khalil. The men were reportedly involved in various terrorist activities in Lanao del Sur.

They also arrested 3 women, identified as Nasifa Pundug, the alleged wife Hashim Maute; Hafidah Romato Maute; and Norhanna Balawag Maute.

Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Director Senior Supt. Agustin Tello also added that the armed men also took Jail Officer 3 Modasir Manwar as they left the area. Manwar was later freed in Barangay Calocan, Marawi City, 3 hours after the attack.

The attackers also took away one M16 and one M14 assault rifle, and burned a provincial jail vehicle which they used as one of their getaway vehicles.

The group used a total of 4 getaway vehicles, including the jail-owned vehicle, which they all abandoned at the lake shore of Barangay Calocan in Marawi City. The suspects and the escapees then rode motorboats to escape to an unknown location.

"These escapees pose serious threat to public safety and must be prevented from sowing further terror," PNP Regional Director PCSupt Noel Constantino was quoted in the police statement as saying.

The military and the police are conducting hot pursuit operations.

The Maute group is one of several terror gangs in Mindanao. The group has carried out kidnappings and bombings and is believed to have led an attack on an army outpost in the Mindanao town of Butig in February.

The fighting there lasted a week, leaving numerous fatalities and forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes as helicopter gunships fought off the attackers.

During the Butig fighting the group's members were seen carrying black flags of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, and bandanas bearing the jihadists' insignia were found in their base, the military said.

The southern Philippines has been plagued by a Muslim separatist insurgency for over 4 decades, with the conflict leaving more than 120,000 dead.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been pursuing peace talks with the larger, more established Muslim insurgent groups, the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Ceasefires with these groups are still in force.

However the smaller groups like the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf group, are not covered by the ceasefires and are not part of the peace process. – With reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com



MARAWI CITY. Blindfolded suspected members of a local terror group wait as one of their colleagues had a medical checkup at Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi city on Tuesday morning on August 23. (Ritchel V. Umel)


MARAWI CITY -- Eight suspected members of the alleged Maute local terror group based in Lanao del Sur were arrested in a checkpoint conducted by the Charlie company of the 51st Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army at around 5 p.m. on August 22.

Lieutenant Colonel Billy dela Rosa, commanding officer of the 51st IB, told SunStar Cagayan de Oro in an interview on August 23, upon learning the group would be having a movement on Tuesday, it prompted the army together with the Philippine National Police in Lumbayanague town to check all the vehicles plying the Butig–Marawi City–Butig route.

As the team flagged down a Toyota Tamaraw FX from Sitio Bliss, Barangay Sandab in Butig town, the police identified the passengers as members of the Maute family. There were three young females, five males, and three children on board the vehicle.

Dela Rosa said the males were allegedly carrying weapons.

A Hassim Balawag Maute alias Apple Jihad was carrying a .45 caliber pistol with five ammunition, Omar Khalil was in possession with a hand grenade and an ammunition of 81 mm mortar rigged, Abul Jabbar Tominaman Macabading from Pantao Ragat in Lanao del Norte had an improvised explosive device (IED), a pipe bomb IED with components was held by Jamil Batoa Amerul while Muhammad Sinodin Mulok was carrying another pipe bomb, a .45 caliber pistol, three Android tablets, two cellular phones, a charger, assorted medical supplies and other war materials.

"Two of the three young females are Maute’s daughters. Based on initial investigation they are medical students," said Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa added among those apprehended persons is Khalil Pacora Umair whose identity was confirmed by a photo in which Umair held the two heads of kidnapped sawmill workers abducted on April 11 at around 10 a.m.

“Four of the six kidnapped sawmill workers were freed on the same day,” dela Rosa said.

Bomb making training

Dela Rosa also disclosed the Maute terror group has allegedly been conducting bomb making training in Butig.

"We are also verifying on the information that some foreign-looking personalities are facilitating the training. The military conducted offensives last May to early part of June in which 20 assorted IEDs were recovered," he said.

At least two soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a land mine explosion during the said military operations.

Dela Rosa said the primary target could be the military but he couldn’t also discount the possibility of planned atrocities.

“There is a possibility that local terror group (LTG) could target crowded places in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and in Lanao del Norte,” he added.

The arrested persons were brought for an inquest in court on Tuesday, August 23, and later brought to Lanao del Sur provincial jail.


In June, the 65th IB seized a 105 rigged IED and bomb making components inside a white Innova in a checkpoint conducted in Marawi City. In a chase with the military, two suspected local terrorists escaped as they joined the crowd.

Colonel Roseller Murillo, commanding officer of the 103rd Brigade based in Kampo Ranao in Marawi city, said the white Innova is owned by a certain Farhana Maute based on the document the military got.

Murillo has urged the public to be more vigilant and report to the authorities any suspicious movement from any group or personality in the area.

President Rodrigo Duterte in his visit at 1st Infantry Tabak Division Philippine in Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur recently urged the military to eradicate local terrorists who could build allies with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria which might be a problem in Mindanao.

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