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Four Maute group hostages escape Marawi by crossing Lake Lanao

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 6 days ago Gutierrez, Angelo
Members of the Philippine Army in a speedboat patrol Lake Lanao near the frontline in Marawi City on Monday, June 19, 2017, as the armed conflict between government troops and members of the Maute terrorist group enter its fourth week. Hundreds of Maute fighters, supported by foreign fighters, rampaged through Marawi, the most important Muslim city, on May 23, waving black flags of the Islamic State. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao to counter the attack, which he said was part of a plan by ISIS to establish a base in the country. AFP/Ted Aljibe © AFP/Ted Aljibe Members of the Philippine Army in a speedboat patrol Lake Lanao near the frontline in Marawi City on Monday, June 19, 2017, as the armed conflict between government troops and members of the Maute terrorist group enter its fourth week. Hundreds of Maute fighters, supported by foreign fighters, rampaged through Marawi, the most important Muslim city, on May 23, waving black flags of the Islamic State. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao to counter the attack, which he said was part of a plan by ISIS to establish a base in the country. AFP/Ted Aljibe

Four hostages had to swim almost a kilometer to cross the Lake Lanao and escape from their Maute captors in Marawi City.

A report on 24 Oras by Chino Gaston on Saturday said the hostages, after escaping from the Maute group, were able to communicate with members of the Philippine Navy in Zamboanga City by keeping a cellphone.

The hostages said that they were guarded by at least 20 young members of the Maute group while in captivity in the war-torn city.

"Hindi nila (Philippine Navy) kaya lapitan kami kasi nandon 'yung .50 caliber. Sabi ko hanggang saan ba kayo susunduin kami, sir? Gitnaan? Parang dito na lang talaga kami hihintay. Parang mahirap talaga. Ayun naglangoy kami ng 1,000 plus meter. Hanggang umabot kami doon," one of the hostages recalled.

The report said that according to the hostages, they saw Omarkhayyam Maute, one of the leaders of the local terror group, while they were in captivity.

The hostages were rescued last August 4.

The military had said that the Maute brothers, including Abdullah, and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the reported Islamic State emir in the Southeast Asia, are still alive. —Anna Felicia Bajo/ALG, GMA News

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