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5 trapped cops rescued in Marawi

Five policemen and five civilians trapped in the three-week long battle in Marawi were rescued yesterday by joint police and military operatives.

A report reaching Camp Crame in Quezon City identified the rescued cops as PO3 Ricky Alawi, 46; PO1 Ibrahim Wahab, 32; PO1 Lumna Lidasan, 44; PO1 Esmael Adao, 34; and, PO1 Bernard Villaries, 52. All of them are assigned to the Marawi City Police.

The report did not say whether the cops were in uniform or were carrying their service firearms.

The rescued civilians, on the other hand, were Jeneber Velasquez, 26; Rodel Alico, 20; Jerald Docallos, 16; Mateo Velasquez, 33; and, Analices Mari, 32.

“Some of them are construction workers from Lala, Lanao del Norte. They came from the compound Masjid Al-Imam Ali in Barangay Moncado in Cadingilan, Marawi City,” the report read.

Velasquez and Alico were treated for wounds in the left thigh and right foot, respectively.

The report said that commandos of the Special Action Force and the military were deployed in Bangolo Bridge at around 6 a.m. yesterday to protect the rescued cops and civilians from Maute snipers.

Earlier, another cop was able to escape in Lumba-Bayabao where Maute gunmen were also spotted. He was identified as Po2 Khoeminie Mamalapat, of the Marawi City Police.

“He was trapped during the attack on May 23 in Marawi City but was able to escape on June 4,” the report read.

The cop also hid for several days from the Maute gunmen before he was finally rescued at around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

It could not be ascertained if the rescued cops were among 60 personnel of the Lanao del Sur provincial police allegedly missing since fighting began on May 23.
Concerned kin on Monday expressed grave concern over the unaccounted lawmen.

“We are worried. There is no news about them until now. Their superiors do not want to announce that they are missing,” a local reporter quoted an emotional relative as saying.

Sources, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the issue, said Camp Crame has been closely been monitoring progress on efforts to find the missing policemen.

On May 31 during a visit to Marawi, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa announced that six cops have gone missing since the fighting.

But subsequent headcounts found out that more than 60 policemen here have been missing, sources said.

This could be one of the reasons that caused the relief more than a week ago of Lanao del Sur’s police director, Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes, sources added.

Local officials said Nantes’ relief came following a shootout between his subordinates, both ethnic Tausugs and a Maranao colleague inside the compound of the provincial police headquarters.

The report could not be independently confirmed. (AARON RECUENCO • ALI MACABALANG)

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