Suspected Maute reinforcements spotted in Lanao

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2017 02:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2017 02:08 PM

MARAWI - At least 20 fully-armed men suspected to be reinforcements of Maute terror group was sighted passing by the town of Saguiaran.

Maning Dalupang,a local official of Saguiaran, said atleast two residents reported to him the said sightings as the armed men quietly passed by in front of residential homes 2 a.m. Friday.

"Sabi nila may nakita kaming mga tao na dumaan pero hindi identified kung ISIS o MILF, nakita dumaan dito papuntang Piagapo, mga naka-armas daw" Dalupang said.

"Dumaan sila sa tapat ng mga bahay naririnig nilang may nag-iistorya, dumungaw sila, nakita nila mga naglalakad," he added.

From the road, the armed group reportedly detoured to a corn field to avoid encountering the military. Dalupang showed ABS-CBN exactly where the group passed by.

"Ito yung dinaanan ng mga armado. Itong diretsong ito papunta ng Mantaring Piagapo, ito dinaanan nila umiwas sila dyan kasi mga opisina may mga sundalo kaya dito sila dumaan," Dalupang explained.

He said the armed group were not from Saguiaran and residents have no idea where the group came from.

"Itong buong Saguiaran ligtas kami pero siyempre 'di mapigilan mga dumadaan," Dalupang said noting that Saguiaran does not harbor terrorists.

"Maproteksyunan sana ang buong Saguiaran. May mga sandata 'yan, wala kami kalaban-laban mga sibilyan," he said.

Authorities are now verifying these reports by coordinating with local officials, Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi, said.

"Marami tayo reports na natatanggap at chinechek agad ito ng ating ground forces. Tumtulong din ang PNP and LGUs alamin kung may mga pagtitipon-tipon. Malaking bagay yung mga information given to us," Petinglay said.

Earlier this week, at least two Maute terrorists reinforcements were killed by the military after attempting to bring in more ammunition via Lanao Lake.

As of August 18, at least 573 government enemies have been killed, while there are 128 casualties on the side of the government.