Marawi residents rescued in conflict areas » Manila Bulletin News



By Ali Macabalang and Genalyn Kabiling 

Muslim individuals, mostly among those displaced by the raging Marawi City strife, and their Christians hosts traded roses for peace during the celebration of Eid’l Fitr in this largely Catholic city.

“The mood was festive,” the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) described in a statement the heart-warming scene between the more than 180 families sheltered at Barangay Buruun here and the Christian residents.

“Muslim women broke down in tears, as their Christian counterparts embraced and handed them flowers, symbolizing love and the joyous and conciliatory atmosphere at the center,” the OPAPP said.

It said children of displaced Maranao residents ran across the Buruun village school’s grassy fields where a group of men roasted a cow which would later on be shared among the evacuees.

The military earlier halted their operations against the Maute terror group in Marawi City in deference to Eid’l Fitr holiday celebrated by the Muslim community. The festival marked the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Balloons representing peace for Marawi City are released at the end of the mass at the Shrine of the Brown Madonna on Asin Road in Tuba, Benguet, Sunday (Zaldy Comanda)

Rescue of residents

The eight-hour truce in military offensives in Marawi City has been so “generally peaceful” that led to the rescue of some residents trapped in the conflict-torn place, Malacañang said Monday.

 “As a result six civilians and one body of a civilian victim (killed by the Maute group) were recovered from inside Marawi. First rescued was a 79-year-old senior citizen. Next were five other civilians,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Volunteers of “peace corridors” backed by religious personalities rescued the six civilians  including a 2-year-old girl trapped at Marawi City’s ground zero.

They also retrieved the cadaver of an elderly Muslim resident named as Hassan B. Ali, 72, and coordinated a swift burial of the body in his hometown of Madalum, Lanao del Sur.

Abella assured that the military operations do not only involve clearing the city of remaining extremists but also the rescue of residents and recovery of the bodies of casualties.

As the military resume offensives against the Islamic State-linked militants, Abella assured the government forces would continue to rescue others caught in the middle of the conflict.

There will be “continuous rescue of trapped residents to include those held hostages,” according to the President’s spokesman.

He said Task Force Ranao has already been activated to ensure efforts “to save lives of innocent non-combatant civilians remain a primary specific task to be complied with.”

“It likewise takes charge in the collating and in the distribution of relief goods to evacuees in tandem with the LGUs,” he said about the task force.


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