MANILA - Police and the military launched Sunday a joint follow-up operation against a militant group that stormed a jail compound in the southern city of Marawi on Saturday.
Around 20 members of the Maute group on board eight vehicles and armed with four rocket grenades attacked the provincial jail compound around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, freeing 23 detainees.
Northern Mindanao police spokesperson, Superintendent Surki Sereñas, said among the escapees were eight members of the Maute group, namely:
- Hashim Balawag Maute;
- Abduljabar Tominaman Macabading;
- Jamil Batoa Amerul;
- Muhammad Sianodin Mulok;
- Omar Khalil;
- Hafidah Romato Maute;
- Norhana Balawag Maute; and
- Nasifa Pundug.
The eight were arrested last Monday for carrying weapons and improvised explosive devices in Barangay Nanagun, Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur.
(READ: 8 members of ISIS-inspired Maute group nabbed in Lanao)
Police said the armed group used four getaway vehicles, including a truck owned by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), which they abandoned at the lake shore along Barangay Caloocan.
The Maute group was tagged in earlier attacks in Central Mindanao, including the beheading of two kidnapped civilians, the bombing of a Lanao del Sur tower and a deadly attack on a military camp.
Superintendent Noel Constantino, director of the Northern Mindanao police, has ordered tighter security measures and intensified intelligence operations to constrict the Maute group's entry in he region.
Checkpoints were set up on the bandits' possible escape paths, said
Liutenant General Mayoralgo dela Cruz, commander of the Army's Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).
Dela Cruz also expressed dismay over the jailbreak, saying he expects the Maute members to be more aggressive in their illegal activities now that they can re-group.
"Sayang talaga, panibagong trabaho na naman 'yan sa atin, madadagdagan na naman ang trabaho ng mga sundalo" dela Cruz said. [It's such a waste because this will be an additional job for our soldiers.]
Aside from the terrorists, 15 non-Maute escapees remained unaccounted for, including: Alawiya Mimbisa, Daud Basari, Saidamin Malna, Asnawi Manabilang, Muamar Mocsir, Danny Tarusan, PFC Hasy Gamelo, Cardawi Batugan, Aradanie Manabilang, Rafsan Macaumbos Salic, Alinor Macaundas, Akil Binong, Hasim Bantus Amatonodin and Abulais Sarangani.
-- With reports from Noning Antonio and Maria Cecilia Butardo, ABS-CBN News