Escorted by Filipino soldiers, the Indonesian Embassy on Thursday rescued seventeen Indonesians trapped in towns near to conflict-stricken Marawi City.
The rescued Indonesians said they hid in mosques in the towns of Marantao, Lanao del Sur and Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte. Before the group left, they said a prayer with Filipinos who were fellow Muslims.
Those rescued are members of Jamaah Tabligh, an Islamic missionary movement whose members stay in different places to teach for four months.
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry have tried for days to rescue its citizens but could not due to the ongoing firefight between government troops and terrorists in Marawi City.
Philippine troops finally allowed the rescue and provided escort on Wednesday.
The rescued Indonesians were transported to Davao City. They are then expected to fly back home.
Meanwhile, the Philippine government made sure Indonesian fugitives tagged in terror activities would not escape with the rescued Jamaah Tabligh members.
Last week, the Philippine National Police (PNP) released wanted posters of four Indonesians who are involved with a local terror network.
Police said they received information that four Indonesians might have joined the Maute group, which is behind the rampage in Marawi City.
They added that some of the fugitives also went to Butig, Lanao del Sur and that there were still no reports of exit.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said eight foreigners, including two Indonesians, were among terrorists killed in the clashes that began on May 23. -- report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News