MILF’s Jaafar appeals for release of Catholic priest and other hostages

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 June) —  Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) first vice chair Ghazali Jaafar appealed for the immediate release of Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub, who has been held captive since clashes between goverment forces and terrorists in Marawi began on May 23.

Jaafar, 1st Vice Chair of the MILF and concurrent chair of  the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), made this appeal during the “Iftar for Peace” Saturday at the Park Inn by Radisson Davao.

Fr. Suganob in the viral video posted in the Facebook account “Native A Mranao,” who credits it to Datumasa Khalid. The video had over 161,000 views and 3,527 shares as of 9 p.m. Tuesday (30 May 2017)

He also urged the hostage-takers to free the youth, women, and seniors still trapped in Marawi.

“I just would like to take this opportunity to appeal again sa kung sino ang humahawak Fr. Chito, hiniling po naming sa kanila sa ngalan ng kapayapaan na i-release na siya, bitiwan na siya, pakawalan na siya. Siya po ay pari, siya po ay religious leader and a person of hope (to his captors, we appeal to you to release Fr. Chito. In the name of peace, release and free him. He is a priest, a religious leader, and a person of hope),” he said.

He said that the followers of Islam revere priests and leaders of other religious groups.

A video showing the priest appealing to President Duterte to stop the air strikes was uploaded on Facebook on May 30, exactly a week after he and several others were held by the Maute Group. The video showed the ruins of a building behind Soganub.

Jaafar said the MILF members continue to give assistance in the field of humanitarian assistance to the residents who are displaced in Marawi.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday agreed to the creation of a “Peace Corridor” to expedite the resource and humanitarian operations for affected civilians who are trapped in Marawi City.

In her Facebook post Sunday evening, GPH peace implementing panel chair Irene Santiago said the 134 people were rescued through the “Peace Corridor” Sunday. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)