Military rescues 42 teachers trapped during Marawi clash

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2017 12:07 PM | Updated as of May 24 2017 12:12 PM

We were like rats hiding: teacher

Government troops rescued Wednesday at least 42 teachers who were trapped inside a building during an attack by Maute terrorists.

The teachers were attending a K-12 program training seminar in a building in the heart of the city when the firefight between soldiers and terrorists erupted.

A male teacher who refused to be identified said the terrorists surrounded the building and tried to enter the venue several times and get hostages. He said the teachers kept hiding "like rats" inside the building to escape the attackers.

He added that he sustained a large gash on his arm after a member of the Maute group tried to snatch him away from the group.

"Pabalik-balik po kaming nagtatago. Para kaming mga daga na nagtatago sa isang lungga. Akyat-baba, akyat-baba. Hindi na po namin mabilang ilang beses kaming nagtakbuhan. May mga natumbang guro," he said.

(We were running to and fro hiding, we were like rats hiding in a burrow. We went upstairs and downstairs several times that we lost count. Some teachers even fell down.)

Soldiers brought the teachers to the provincial capitol building, which serves as a temporary place of refuge.

Clashes in Marawi City began Tuesday evening after the terrorists fired back at soldiers who were on a mission to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the suspected leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao and has cut short his 4-day official visit to Russia to return to the country amid tensions in Marawi City.