With bound wrists and bodies riddled with bullets, the corpses of nine Christian civilians were found in a grassy area in Marawi City on May 23. The victims were allegedly killed by the Maute terrorist group when they passed the checkpoint placed by terrorists. Marawi is in the infamous region of Mindanao in Southern Philippines.
Jun Veneracion, on GMA News “24 Oras,” reported on Wednesday that residents saw the nine victims in the grassy area in Sitio Moncado in the local town of Kadilingan. The victims were riding in a truck when they passed the checkpoint placed by the Maute in the area.
Based on information gathered by the soldiers, the terrorist group forced the victims out of the truck, bound them, and brought them to the grassy area where the shots were fired. Some victims are almost unidentifiable due to the severity of the gunshot wounds. The residents themselves said the victims were Christians.
Meanwhile, additional troops, including reinforcements from the military’s elite fighters, arrived in Marawi City to hunt down members of Maute. There is strict vigilance at the checkpoints going in and out of the city to ensure that no more terrorists can escape and no more of them can enter.
Besides civilians, five soldiers and policemen have been killed since the start of the fighting in Marawi on the 23rd. Among those killed were a young military officer and two ambulance drivers.
Some civilians were also allegedly taken by a Maute group. Those abducted include a priest, Fr. Chito Suganob, and 15 parishioners who were doing novenas, or special prayers, Tuesday night.
Governor Mujiv Hataman of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) said that based on information he has gathered, joint forces of Abu Sayyaf, Maute, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other terrorist groups in Mindanao make up the forces in Marawi City.
God of all Mercy, how we grieve for the families of those killed in Marawi City. Comfort them, Father, with Your peace that passes all understanding. We are thankful for the assurance that You are not deaf to the sound of their weeping. With the psalmist David, we are assured that You have “kept count of their tossings; put their tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (Ps 56). We pray that You will comfort the families of soldiers and police who have been killed in the melee, and for the priest and parishioners who were abducted. And We pray Your hand of protection to rest upon all believers in Mindanao. As we are faced today with the extreme violence in this region, we pray for the authorities as they seek to bring about lawful order. In the name of Jesus, who suffered and died that we might follow Him not only in suffering, but in the glory set before us. Amen.