Dansalan College now secured by military

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 05 July) – The military on Tuesday said they have retaken Dansalan College which the ISIS-inspired Maute Group seized and partially burned on May 23.

Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera said 14 firearms, including a caliber .50 machine gun and radio sets, were recovered by the troops from the school premises that the Maute Group used.

“A cadaver of a foreign-looking individual was also recovered by the troops. It is believed to be one of the reported foreign fighters from Singapore,” Herrera said.

The military presented to the media in Marawi City on Tuesday, 04 July 2015 items left behind by the Maute Group while in Dansalan College: radio sets, firearms, including a broken Barrett 50 caliber sniper rifle. The Maute Group burned a portion of the school on Day 1 of the Marawi Crisis. July 4 is Day 43. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The school is host to some high rise structures that served as machine gun nest and snipers’ vantage position of terrorist elements, the military said.

Dansalan College, founded in 1948 by Americans and the United Church of Christ of the Philippines, was used as platform for the Maute Group snipers to shoot at government troops.

Some of the school teachers are believed to be among the estimated 100 hostages used as shields by the gunmen in Marawi City.

But troops fighting the Maute Group inside the city told MindaNews that the gunmen still appeared to be on high morale despite weeks of being pummeled day and night by bombs and artillery.

“I saw them dancing on the streets as we fired at them. I think they were high on drugs. I don’t know where they got that strength,” an Army officer said.

The officer said they were rescuing a group of hostages when they encountered the gunmen.

He said they rescued one hostage, a carpenter, but three others did not come out from their hiding place for fear of the gunmen.

Herrera said the military has rescued 1,717 civilians, some of whom the gunmen used to forage for food and guns. A number of women were reportedly violated, according to Herrera. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)