3 suspected Maute members held in Iloilo

TWO men and a woman suspected of having links to the Maute terror group were being held for questioning by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Iloilo City Sunday afternoon, officials said.

Lt. Edison Diaz, PCG-Iloilo station commander, said the three suspects arrived on board passenger ship St. Therese of the Child Jesus from Cagayan de Oro City at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, June 18.

"Hindi pa naman confirmed. Ongoing ang investigation (Their identities are not confirmed yet. Investigation is ongoing)," Diaz said in a telephone interview.

He said they have confiscated some documents and personal belongings from the three individuals.

Diaz said the PCG unit in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao had alerted them about the suspects and also deployed a team to monitor the suspects while onboard the ship going to Iloilo.

"As soon as the ship arrived at the Iloilo Port, we boarded it and approached the group. We recovered them at about 3:20 p.m.," Diaz said.

Authorities have been on the lookout for any member of the Maute Group, which has engaged government troops in battle for four weeks now in Marawi City.

The group is allied with terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, target of a government raid on May 23 in Marawi.

The fighting in Marawi had prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the entire Mindanao on May 23. As of Friday, the military said 225 militants, 59 government troops and 26 civilians have been killed. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)