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​Priest Sighted After Abduction By ISIS In Philippines

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​Priest Sighted After Abduction By ISIS In Philippines

A Roman Catholic priest who is thought to have been kidnapped by Jihadists has been sighted alive, according to the Philippine military.

Father Teresito Suganob was taken by militants almost a month ago and was feared dead until the statement on Monday morning.

The city of Marawi has been the site of an Islamist insurgency since the end of May. Close to 400 people are thought to have been killed in the Muslim-majority city in the south of the Philippines.

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Credit: PA Images

A ceasefire was declared for eight hours to allow the remaining inhabitants of the city - a large number have fled the violence - to celebrate the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The Philippine Army are currently attempting to retake Marawi from a group claiming affiliation to ISIS.

The Maute group, which is estimated to be 300 militants strong, hoisted the black flag of ISIS above the city on May 23 and have held off the advances of the Philippine security services since.

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As Philippine government forces advance into the city, the Maute group and their allies are using IEDs (improvised explosive devices), booby traps and human shields to halt their progress, said Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, a military spokesman.

Of the missing priest, he stated: "We don't have details of his health. We were just told that he was sighted alive."

Father Suganob was captured along with a group of his parishioners at the beginning of the siege of Marawi and had not been sighted until this weekend.

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Credit: PA Images

The Philippines is one of the most heavily Catholic countries in the world and there has been outcry about the missing priest. Fr. Suganob had previously appeared in videos directed at President Rodrigo Duterte that called for him to cease actions in Marawi City.

"Mr. President, we are in the midst of war," the priest said in a Facebook video that went viral in the Philippines. "We are asking for your help. Please give us what your enemies are asking for. They are not asking for anything, just withdraw your forces away from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City. Stop the air strikes, stop the air attacks, stop the cannons.

Whether Fr. Suganob spoke of his own free will or not is not known.

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Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Philippines, ISIS

Claire Reid
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