ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
Hostages held by pro-Daesh terrorists in the southern city of Marawi have revealed how they were treated “like animals”, local media reported Saturday.
They revealed how around 50 civilians were still being held hostage, including 20 women who had been repeatedly raped by militants.
The four former prisoners, who escaped captivity by swimming a lake until they were picked up by the Philippine Navy, were held for more than two months inside a mosque.
Terrorists from the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf have held parts of Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao against military onslaught for more than 11 weeks.
The hostages told broadcaster ABS-CBN that they were forced to cook for the terrorists. They revealed that the militants still have abundant supplies of rice and tinned food in their stronghold.
ABS-CBN reported one escapee describing how some terrorists treated them well but “most of them treated us like animals”.
Father Teresito Suganob, a priest captured at the start of the siege on May 23, was being forced to collect the contents of fireworks to be turned into improvised explosive devices, the hostages said.
Around 20 militants are holding out in Bato Mosque although some were severely wounded, they added.
The captives said they escaped while their guards slept and swam out into Lake Lanao until they were picked up by a naval patrol.
The battle to retake Marawi City has led to 725 deaths and has displaced more than 200,000 people, the government said.