5 trapped cops rescued in Marawi

MANILA, Philippines – Five policemen who were trapped in areas dominated by local terror groups in Marawi City were rescued by government forces on Tuesday morning, June 13.

The 5 were rescued alongside 5 civilians through a joint operation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the local government, and civil society groups, according to Task Force Marawi commander Major General Rolando Bautista.

The PNP had earlier said several of its men were trapped in Marawi City following an attempt by the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terror groups to take control of the city on May 23.

One cop, identified as Police Officer 2 Khomennie Mamalapat, escaped on June 4. He immediately called his direct superior, who then instructed him to report to a nearby police station. His status was confirmed on June 12.

Government forces – military and police – are still trying to flush out members of the two terror groups, who have pledged allegiance to the international terror group Islamic State (ISIS). (READ: ISIS praises terror attacks in Philippines, Iran)

Last Friday, June 9, 13 Philippine Marines were killed after a day-long battle with the local terrorists. The troops were able to push forward against the enemy.

A total of 58 soldiers and police have been killed since the clashes started on May 23. (READ: PH honors 'heroes of Marawi' with noontime salute)

The majority of Marawi City has been evacuated but some civilians remain trapped in areas where the terrorists are concentrated. Over 1,600 civilians have been rescued.

The attempted takeover of Marawi City prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law over the entire Mindanao, also on May 23. He suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus as well.

Martial law remains in effect for a maximum of 60 days, unless Duterte seeks an extension and gets congressional approval. The Supreme Court on Tuesday began oral arguments on petitions opposing the martial law declaration. (READ: SC's Del Castillo: Isn't Marawi siege act of rebellion?– Rappler.com