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Priest thanks people praying for him after his safe rescue by gov’t forces

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By Francis Wakefield

Catholic priest Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, Monday thanked the people for praying for him following his safe rescue last Saturday from the main battle area (MBA) inside Marawi City.

Father Chito Soganub,waves as he is escorted by military doctors after arriving at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Septemebr 18 2017. Fathe Soganub was held captive by the terrorist Maute fighters for 114 days. He was rescued by operatives fro mthe Armed Forces of the Philippines after a deadly battle wit the terrosit group. Also in photo are Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and AFP CHief of Staff Gen Eduardo Año. (Mark Balmores)

Father Chito Soganub, after arriving at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, September 18, 2017. Also in photo are Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año. (Mark Balmores)

In a brief speech he delivered before members of the media, Fr. Soganub also assured that he is in good condition and only needs some rest following his almost four-month captivity in the hands of the Daesh-inspired Maute terrorist group.

Fr. Soganub, 51, was taken by the Maute group on May 23, shortly after the terrorist group occupied Marawi City.

“Maraming salamat sa inyo. I’ll pray for you. God bless you all and pray for me also for my healing and recovery. Thank you very much and God bless you all,” Fr. Soganub said.

Soganub, who was wearing a green shirt, blue jacket and black pants when he was presented by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief of staff General Eduardo Año, was then whisked away from the press briefing area at the general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City

Fr. Soganub, who is head of the Prelature of St. Mary’s in Marawi City, was accompanied to Manila by Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the Joint Task Force Marawi and Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Lanao del Sur provincial crisis committee.

In a press briefing, Año said one of the reasons why the priest was taken by the terrorist group was to use him, just like the other hostages, as a bargaining chip or as a shield from advancing government troops.

He added that the Maute group is still holding some 45 to 50 hostages.

“They (Maute) already have lots of money because of the looting. They used the priest as a human shield or a bargaining chip,” he said.

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