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ICC Note: Philippines troops made progress last weekend reclaiming St. Mary’s cathedral in Marawi City. The fight between the government forces and terrorist group Maute has continued for more than 3 months. The church was seized the first day of fighting back in May, and Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganob was abducted. His whereabouts is still unknown.

08/28/2017 (Phil Star) – Government forces have finally cleared and retaken a Catholic church in the center of predominantly Muslim Marawi City after 95 days of fighting.

The military said troops took control of St. Mary’s Cathedral on Friday but had to clear the church of improvised explosive devices left by the Maute group, which seized the church in Marinaut village on May 23, the first day of fighting.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Western Mindanao (Westmincom) and Joint Task Force Marawi, said troops from the 10th Infantry Battalion assaulted and took over over the church Friday afternoon.

It will be recalled that, during the first week of the siege, the Maute group posted videos of them seizing the church and desecrating religious images there.

The group also seized Fr. Teresito ‘Chito’ Soganob along with 10 others.

Petinglay said that after the successful recovery of the church, troops were able to recover three high-powered firearms and assorted ammunition inside the building.

The recovery came barely a day after the troops also retook the Islamic Center and the Grand Mosque that the Maute group used as a command and control center.

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