Five missing Philippine police rescued amid clashes

 13 Jun 2017 - 13:13

Five missing Philippine police rescued amid clashes
Photo: AA.

AA

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: Five of 70 Philippine police officers reported missing since clashes broke out between government forces and IS-linked terrorists in Marawi City last month have been rescued.

Military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo confirmed on Tuesday a rescue operation had taken place. Five civilians being held captive by a local terror group in besieged Marawi were also freed.

The rescued police had been holed up in Banggolo near the stronghold of the Maute group after running out of ammunition, according to a report from local broadcaster dzBB.

Earlier, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao director Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said they had not accounted for dozens of missing police officers but were still searching for them.

Sindac was quoted as saying they were trying to contact about 65 more police officers assigned in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City. “We could not reach them, so they remain unaccounted for to date," he added.

However, he said there were no indications those who remained unaccounted for had been killed or taken hostage by the Maute or Abu Sayyaf groups since violence in Marawi broke out on May 23.

"We do not want to speculate, we hope they come out soon,” Sindac said.

Families of some of the missing officers confirmed to local reporters covering the Marawi crisis that they have lost contact with them.

According to Col. Arevalo, the rescued officers will undergo questioning before being transferred for medical checks.

The military said 138 militants had been killed in the ongoing conflict while 21 civilians had fallen victim to the Maute group.

On Saturday, the military said 13 Marines had been killed in a 16-hour clash in Barangay Lilod Madaya. These deaths brought the number of fatalities for the security forces to nearly 60.