Abducted priest rescued in Marawi, authorities say

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Fr. Chito Suganob after his rescue Saturday night.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) — A Catholic priest held captive by rebels in Marawi since May 23 has been rescued, authorities said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza first announced this in a Facebook post Sunday, quoting former Iligan Mayor Franklin Quijano.

 

Dureza said the Catholic priest and one other person were rescued 11 p.m. Saturday, near Bato Mosque, one of the main strongholds of the Maute terrorists.

CNN sources confirmed this report.

READ: Military attempts to retake Bato Ali Mosque

Soganub was abducted with other parish workers from St. Mary's Parish church on May 23, when the crisis broke out in Marawi.

READ: CBCP confirms Maute abduction of priest, other parish staffers

On May 30, a video posted by Bisaya News on Facebook showed Soganub appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte.

In the video, Soganub says he was taken as a prisoner of war along with churchworkers, a professor of the Mindanao State University, teachers from the Dansalan College Foundation Inc., carpenters, household helpers, children, Christian settlers, and tribe members.

READ: Abducted priest to Duterte: Consider us; give your enemies what they ask for

"Mr. President, we are in the midst of this war. We are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for," he said.

On August 12, four hostages rescued from the hands of the Maute terrorist group on Saturday said Soganub is still alive.

READ: Rescued Maute hostages say abducted Fr. Chito Soganub is still alive

Bato Mosque retaken by gov't forces

In a statement Saturday, Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the Bato mosque and the Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation (JIMF) have been retaken by members of Joint Task Force Marawi.

"It was a fiercely fought five hours before government security forces subdued the terrorists who were strategically located in the buildings in the periphery of the mosque and the JIMF", he said.

AFP Chief Eduardo Año also said in a statement Saturday that the retaking of the two Maute strongholds has "further weakened" the terror group.

"As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight. We are ready for that," he said.

This is a developing story.

CNN Philippines digital producers Ver Marcelo and Pia Garcia contributed to this report.