THE Maute group, blamed by security authorities for the siege in Marawi City since May, has started enlisting compulsorily civilians in an effort to increase their dwindling numbers in the provincial capital, Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Col. Romeo Brawner has said.
“They now force the hostages, especially the male hostages to fight with them,'' Brawner said on GMA 7 news program 24 Oras.
The Maute group has found itself in a major battle with government troops after the terror group attacked Marawi last May.
In addition to increasing their numbers with civilians, the Maute group also has been reported to be augmenting their production of improvised explosive devices by using dud bombs dropped by government forces.
About 1,500 IEDs had so far been recovered by the 54th Engineering Brigade, and, with the help of other security units, the Army Engineers continued to create safe areas in the city which were free from Maute munitions, debris, and criminal organizations.
In one such operation, police captured an Amenton Rebosura and seven other drug personalities who hid in a house in Marawi. The suspects were brought to Lanao del Sur’s police provincial office.
Rebosura was reported to have admitted using illegal drugs but denied being part of the drug trade.