Maute hostages not yet released to families

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2017 06:32 PM

MARAWI CITY - Ailyn Mae Patindol on Monday trooped to this war-torn city to look for her husband after hearing that he was among the 17 hostages rescued from Maute captivity.

Although the military confirmed that Patindol's husband was rescued, they said they cannot release him yet because he is receiving medical attention and is undergoing investigation.

Ailyn, who brought food for her husband who she thought was dead, instead wrote a letter that the military will give to her husband.

"Nami-miss na siya namin, namimiss (ng) mga anak niya. Wag siya mag-aalala, kinakaya ko ang mga tingin niya hindi ko kakayanin. Sobrang hirap, pero kinakaya ko pa," she told ABS-CBN News.

Her husband is an electrician working in a private house when the siege erupted between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired extremists. He was held captive by the terror group since then.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commanding general of the Western Mindanao Command, said they may able to turn over the hostages to the local government in a couple of days.

Some 17 rescued hostages are still in the hands of the military undergoing medical and psychological treatment, and are also being investigated for possible ties with the terror group, especially the male hostages.

Galvez said these hostages need help in all aspects to recover from the traumatic experiences they went through amid the firefight.

"Takot sila lumabas. Walang trabaho, yung mga naipon savings nawala na rin. May traumatic experiences pa. They really need thorough attention," Galvez said.

WAR WILL BE OVER SOON

Galvez is also optimistic that the war in Marawi will be over within the week, after the military cleared 2 out of 3 remaining battle areas and positive developments were reported in the last stronghold of the Maute terror group.

"We can achieve that not later than October 15," Galvez said. "Sa ngayon maganda ang latag we have all all forces we needed."

Firefight was heavy in the last three days. ABS-CBN cameras captured how the military has been bombarding the terrorists' stronghold.

Cameras also captured military helicopters dropping water bottles with messages inside for Maute members on how to surrender.

Galvez said the terrorists are still holding some 28 hostages, including 12 children and 16 women. Around 33 dependents of the Maute members are also with them in the battle area, he said.

"We will treat them as non-combatants as long as they will not get firearms, they will be civilians. We wanted to isolate them," the commander said.

Some 774 members of the enemy camp have been killed in the fighting, but 158 soldiers also died in 140 days of the Marawi Siege.

Galvez said around 6 to 9 more foreign terrorists are left fighting with the local rebels, including Maute leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon.

"Omar was wounded during the assault in Bato mosque. More than 15 killed Maute in that area and we believe Omar was the leader in Bato mosque," he said.