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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Hostages turned into ‘sex slaves’

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MAUTE terrorists are forcing female hostages into marriage and sexual slavery, the military said Wednesday.

“There are women hostages who became sex slaves. These are information told to us by those who escaped from the fighting in Marawi,” Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a briefing at the Palace.

“Hostages told us of these, and we are not inventing them,” he added.

On Tuesday, Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera said that hostages in Marawi were being forced to convert to Islam and the women’s dignity “destroyed.”

CARRYING ON. Government troops from the Marawi City frontline drive past a mosque Wednesday in the southern lakeshore city aboard their armored personnel carrier as Islamist militants occupying parts of the provincial capital used a water route to bring in, according to military authorities, ammunition and evacuate wounded fighters, helping them withstand a five-week military offensive. AFP

“The worst thing, cases of female hostages who were forced to marry… They are being forced to be sex slaves,” he said.

“This is what is happening inside. As I said, these are evil personalities,” he added in Filipino.

He said seven hostages related what was happening inside the conflict zone of the war-torn city.

“While they were in captivity, they were being used. The hostages were tasked to loot houses, especially for ammunition, firearms, gold, jewelries. These were the tasks given to them by the Maute,” Herrera said.

Civilian hostages were also forced to carry firearms and fire against the military and bring wounded terrorists back to mosques, where some of the Maute members were hiding.

Herrera said Fr. Teresito Suganob, held hostage by the terrorists since May 23, was still alive.

On Wednesday, the Justice department said it would train 30 Metro Manila prosecutors to handle the rebellion cases in continuous trial against the Maute group terrorists.

Once training is completed, the prosecutors will be divided into two panels of 15 members, each headed by a senior state prosecutor.

Under the continuous trial system, postponements of hearings are generally prohibited and courts are directed to promulgate a decision no later than 90 days from the time the case is submitted for decision.

Case will be tried from Monday to Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The continuous trial system was set up by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno when she assumed the top post to enable the speedy disposition of cases.

Citing security risks, Justice Secretary Vitaliano  Aguirre earlier asked the Supreme Court to transfer the cases from Cagayan de Oro to Taguig City but the justices have yet to issue a resolution. With Rey E. Requejo

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