Lanao exec calls for citizens’ arrest of fleeing Maute gunmen
MARAWI CITY – The provincial government of Lanao del Sur has called on residents to help government forces by conducting citizens’ arrest of suspected terrorists from Marawi City, who may be on the run now.
“It’s an arrest under justice system, and it’s legal to do that considering the degree of criminal acts committee by the Maute,” said regional assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson for the provincial government.
“If anybody thinks that he or she is physically capable of apprehending a member of the Maute, then do so. Bring that criminal to us and we will do the necessary actions,” he said.
Adiong added that government troops on Sunday arrested a suspected militant who was trying to pass himself off as an evacuee in Marawi City.
“During processing of the identities of the evacuees, our social workers sensed something was different about him,” Adiong said.
He said the man, who was in his 20s, was not carrying any weapon, but “his fingers smelled of gunpowder.”
Adiong made the call as he announced that the provincial government has been imposing the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew since Sunday.
The curfew covers all residents, government employees as well members of the media covering the conflict.
“That will be daily, now until such time the police and military can say the situation in the city is back to normal,” Adiong said.
“For the media, if it really is necessary to go to Iligan beyond 8 p.m., you need to coordinate with the military,” he added.
Adiong said the military has advised them to tell residents coming out of Marawi City to wear white clothes, place white flags on their vehicles or put white armbands.
The police have also denied reports that Iligan City, where most of the evacuees from Marawi are, is in a lockdown.
The clarification was issued by the city’s police command when word circulated that a lockdown would be implemented soonest, based on the announcement of the City Information Office through its Facebook page.
The word spread like wildfire and even prompted several residents to pack up things so they could travel out of the city before the announcement of a deadline.
“Be informed that only containment action is being implemented through strong checkpoints and several mobile checkpoints at the heart of the city including police visibility to negate the occurrence of a similar
incident in Marawi City,” a Facebook post by the city police read.
It was issued around 9 p.m. Sunday.
“Anybody can get in and out of the city provided that they have not violated any law or caught carrying contraband, firearms, explosives, and others, as everybody will have to pass through strict and thorough
security inspection,” the post further read.
Col. Alex Aduca, chief of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, has assured the public that Iligan City remains open to evacuees.
“We want to clarify that access to Iligan City is still open. It’s just we are intensifying our security operations,” Aduca said.
“We have provided containment areas so that we can process them properly. They are very much welcome. We have designated areas for them,” he added.
Aduca, citing information from evacuees and ground troops, said the Maute and Abu Sayyaf men have started withdrawing from Marawi City.
“And because they have relatives who are evacuees, they are joining in the influx. It is hard to identify the sympathizers,” Aduca said. SFM
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