By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Wednesday said that a foreigner who is a suspected member of the Daesh-inspired Maute Group was captured in Marawi.
The AFP spokesman, Major General Restituto Padilla, said the foreigner, still unnamed, was intercepted and arrested by law enforcement members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) inside the war-torn city.
Padilla said the person was turned over to the joint Philippine National Police and AFP teams for proper disposition.
“The person was arrested today in Marawi by local BPATs. He is currently under investigation,” Padilla said.
“So far that’s the detail I received (from officials in the field),” he added.
On Tuesday morning, a Maute straggler was killed by government troops while attempting to leave Marawi.
A companion of the Maute straggler escaped and is currently being hunted by troops in the area.
Brawner said that the military will not resume offensive combat operations despite the recent killing of the Maute straggler.
“What we are doing right now are just clearing operations dahil nga iyung resistance is really not that significant anymore,” Brawner said.
When asked if the killing of the Maute straggler will also have an effect on the return of residents to their homes, Brawner said it will not.
“Hindii naman, hindi naman. Mukhang hindi maapektuhan iyung plano natin sa sa pagabablik ng internally displaced persons dahil katunayan nga, ngayong araw na ito nagbalik iyung mga residente ng dalawang barangay, Barangay Marawi and East Basak,” he said.
Brawner said that despite the termination of combat operations and the return of some of the troops to their mother units, a significant number of troops are still in Marawi to look for Maute stragglers hiding in holes or bunkers.
“Since the Secretary of National Defense terminated combat operations, this allowed our troops to go back to their mother units. But we still have to put in troops because there are still stragglers,” Brawner said.
For his part, Zia Alonto Adiong, the head of the Marawi Crisis Management Committee, said if there are Maute stragglers remaining, their number is already insignificant to cause the resumption of war.
“Tuloy-tuloy pa rin planning sa pagbabalik ng mga tao (The plan for the people to return to their homes continues). Kung may straggler insignicant na po iyung number nila (If there are still stragglers their number is already insignigicant) to cause war again or you know to keep our evacuees from returning to their residences,” Adiong said.
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