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Maute holds cache of looted jewelry, money: military

MANILA - Maute fighters have collected a cache of gold necklaces, expensive watches and cash from the houses they looted in Marawi, a military official said Thursday.



Army 1st Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera said the information came from one of 13 hostages rescued Wednesday.

"May isa po kaming na-rescue kahapon, 'di ko na po sasabihin ang pangalan. Sabi niya kitang-kita niya iyung sobrang daming pera sa area na na-loot. May gold na mga necklace," Herrera said in an interview over radio DZMM.

(We rescued a civilian yesterday, I won't say his name, but he said that he saw countless cash from looted areas. There were also numerous gold necklaces.)

The looted items, he said, reportedly included luxury watches.

Herrera added that the extremists have been using hostages in their looting activities.

"Mayroon din po ditong naiulat na iyung mga Christian po na hostages ay ginagamit po sa paglo-loot. Sila po ang ginagawang manpower ng mga Maute sa loob ng conflict area," he said.

(We have received reports that Christian hostages are being used in the looting. They are used as the manpower of Maute inside the conflict area.)

The military has padlocked houses to prevent more cases of looting.



Last June 5, security forces seized at least P79 million in cash and checks from a house in Marawi after retaking a stronghold of the Maute fighters.

Authorities were still investigating who owns the money and if it was connected to terrorist activities, Herrera said.


The military earlier said the rebel force is down to 120 fighters who have been confined to only 4 Marawi barangays.

Herrera revealed that the rebels earlier recruited unemployed Marawi residents and law offenders with the promise of money.

"Even iyung mga walang trabaho po dati, isang taktika nila ay ni-recruit nila ito... Noong meeting po namin sa Sultanate kahapon, nabanggit po iyan, na may mga promise sila na pera kaya iyung iba po doon ay sumama, criminals," he said.

(One of their tactics had been to recruit the unemployed. That was brought up in our meeting with the Sultanate yesterday, that some people were promised money, even criminals.)

marawi damage

He added that the 4 villages where the battle is raging are considered home to the town's wealthiest residents. The areas are also deemed vantage points that contain an abundance of abandoned food and valuables.

Rebels have resorted to burning the houses in these villages in a bid to delay the entry of state troops, Herrera said.

The official also denied that houses were burned down because of military air strikes.

"Iyung paggamit natin ng airstrike -- iyung ordinance, bomba -- hindi po iyan nakakasunog," he said.

(Our use of the airstrikes -- the ordinance or bomb itself -- does not cause fires.)

As of Tuesday, the military said 258 militants, 65 security personnel and 26 civilians had been killed. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for, with many believed to be hiding in the basements of the city.



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