MARAWI CITY, Philippines — A military official on Thursday announced government troops have discovered six remains in one of the execution sites of the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf bandits in this city.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson, said the bodies were discovered around 9:47 a.m. Wednesday “in a place believed to be one of the execution sites used by the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf bandits in murdering civilians in Marawi City.”
Herrera said the troops of the Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion “found orange-clad remains of individuals believed to be victims of cold-blooded execution by terrorists.”
He added the victims were executed during the early part of the crisis.
The fighting started when the Maute group members went berserk and occupied several establishments when government troops raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon on May 23.
The Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Maute group is providing protection to Hapilon, who pledged allegiance to the ISIS.They were executed during the early part of the crisis, he said
“The bodies could be those of individuals that were executed as shown in the Mautes/ASG propaganda video and posted on the Internet and social media,” Herrera said.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, has condemned the brutal killing of the innocent victims.
“The brutal execution is a proof of their un-Islamic ways. These terrorist do not respect anyone or anything,” Galvez said.
“Our soldiers, your soldiers, will continue to liberate Marawi bearing in mind that this city belongs to our Maranao brothers and sisters and this lands belongs to the Filipino people,” he added.
For his part, Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, Army’s 1st Infantry Division chief, vowed that the terrorists will pay for the atrocities they have done in this city.
“They will not go unpunished. We will bring them to justice,” Bautista said.
The recovery of the six remains have brought the number of cadavers the troops have recovered to 39 since the fighting started on May 23.
“It is believed that there could be more people murdered by the Maute and ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) as revealed by rescued hostages,” Herrera said.
Assemblyman Zia Alonto-Adiong, Crisis Management Committee spokesperson, said the local government along with the police have established a laboratory to check on the identities of the cadavers.
“Measures have been established for the families to identify the cadavers,” he said.
Adiong said they are gathering Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples of people who have missing relatives.
“In this process, the provincial government will give temporary burial where sufficient markers will allow relatives could retrieve them,” he said. Darwin Wally Wee/PNA-northboundasia.com