St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi city was taken back from the Maute group after three months.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have retaken St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, located in the center of Marawi City, after 95 days of fighting.
The troops took control of St. Mary’s Cathedral this last Friday, August 25, but had to clear the church of improvised explosive devices left by the Maute group, which had seized the church on May 23. During that first week of the siege, the Maute group posted videos of them seizing the church and desecrating religious images there. According to ICN, “the altar was largely demolished and a beheaded figure is the only statue left standing inside the complex.” The Maute Group also seized Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganob, along with 10 other persons, reported PhilStar.
The cathedral was recovered one day after the Philippines troops also retook the Islamic Center and the Grand Mosque which was being used as a command and control center by the Maute. “We have seen how these terrorists have desecrated both the Islamic Center and the St Mary’s Cathedral,” said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., Westmincom chief, as reported by PhilStar. “This only shows how these people do not respect any religion, be it Christian or Muslim,” Galvez added.
Maute, a group inspired by ISIS, continues to hold about 56 Christian hostages.