Soldiers under probe for alleged looting in Marawi

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 31 2017 03:04 PM | Updated as of Oct 31 2017 06:58 PM

Members of the military unload items found in the main battle area in Marawi City apparently looted by Maute forces and recovered by troops during clearing operations. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Six soldiers are under investigation for reportedly looting in Marawi City, a military official said Tuesday.

Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, said one official and 5 personnel of the Philippine Army are being investigated for looting in the war-torn city, where residents had to flee their homes during the five-month conflict.

Speaking to ANC, Brawner clarified that the Army officers are still under investigation and not yet charged, contrary to his earlier announcement in a press conference.

He said the looting allegedly happened during the first few weeks of the siege. The commander of the soldiers involved immediately ordered his men to return the allegedly stolen items, Brawner said.

“Let me correct my statement earlier sir, it is still under investigation. I mentioned that they have been charged, I believe if after the investigation they will be found guilty, then they will be charged,” he told ANC.

"The unit said they are still under investigation. It’s an administrative case that will be filed against them," he added.

The military also found in the battle area several items allegedly looted by terrorist forces at the time of the firefights. 

Among those recovered were cash, jewelry, appliances and even exercise equipment.

The announcement came following the end of combat operations in the besieged city last week.

Residents who have started returning to the city after the crisis earlier reported ransacking in their homes. 

Some 1,100 people were killed and the city's more than 200,000 residents were displaced in firefights between state troops and Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists from May 23 until last week. -- report from Kori Quintos and Jun Sepe, ABS-CBN News