MANILA - Women held captive by Maute terrorists in Marawi City are forced into sex slavery and marriage with members of the extremist group, the military said Tuesday.
"Worst thing [is] there are cases of female hostages forced to marry the Maute local terrorist group. They are being forced to [be a] sex slave, forced to destroy the dignity of these women," Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said Tuesday.
Seven hostages were earlier rescued by government troops from the clutches of the Maute group, Islamic State-linked terrorists behind attacks in Marawi City now into its second month.
The hostages, according to Herrera, shared harrowing stories of their captivity, which included rape and being forced to loot from abandoned houses in the war zone.
"The hostages were tasked to loot houses, establishments [for] ammunition, firearms, cash, [and] gold," he said.
The hostages even allegedly followed a "looting schedule" planned by the extremists, where they were tasked to make rounds from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and were allowed to take lunch and rest until 3 p.m., the time when looting tasks resumed.
Government troops have already padlocked houses abandoned by fleeing residents of Marawi to prevent more cases of looting.
The Maute group also forces hostages to bring firearms so they could fight against government troops and bring to safety wounded terrorists, Herrera said.
"Pinipilit nila 'yung hostages to bring firearms, to fight government security forces because pinipilit din nila 'yung hostages to [become a] balik-Islam, revert to Islam, and were also tasked to bring wounded terrorists to mosques," he said.
The military's report came just as it denied allegations of a Left-led mission that soldiers deployed in Marawi had threatened women of rape, prompting them to evacuate.
Meanwhile, Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman for the provincial crisis management committee, said acts of the Maute group do not reflect the true character of Muslims.
"Our religion is very clear in giving priority to decency of women," he said.
"What we just heard from Col. Herrera, the condition of this people does not represent completely what Islam is all about," he added.
Herrera said there were also reports that Maute terrorists have killed civilians or have beheaded some. The rescued hostages are still in the hands of the military and are being debriefed at the moment.
Clashes between state forces and Maute terrorists erupted on May 23 leaving thousands displaced and hundreds dead.
As of 7 p.m. Monday, government placed the death toll in Marawi City at 387, among them 290 terror suspects, 70 government troops and 27 civilians.