Marawi priest, Father Teresito 'Chito' Soganub, rescued after fierce battle

Fr Chito Suganob in video

The Bato Mosque had served as a stronghold of the terrorists, who took advantage of the fact that government forces hesitate to attack religious institutions.

Fighting between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists has been raging for almost four months in Marawi, leaving at least 845 dead, a lot of them terrorists, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The Bato Ali Mosque is the third worship site in Marawi City that combined police and military contingents have reclaimed from Maute gunmen since early September.

Several hostages were reportedly last seen there, according to Galvez.

"As follow up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight", he said.

Meanwhile, four soldiers were hurt when an improvised explosive device that terrorists had abandoned at Bato mosque exploded. Two marines were also killed this week in close quarter fighting in another area in the battle zone, said Galvez.

WestMinCom spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said the death toll among government forces has reached 149.

This developed as Colonel Romeo Brawner, the deputy head of Joint Task Force Marawi, disclosed that some Maute terrorists have responded favourably to the military's appeal that they surrender.

The school was burned down by Maute terrorists on May 23 as they laid siege to strategic areas there, sparking hostilities that have since dragged on.

"They are retreating while we are assaulting but in the process of doing so, we are encountering many improvised explosive devices so we can not just advance".

Catholic priest Teresito "Chito" Suganob escaped Saturday night from his Maute captors after soldiers reclaimed the mosque where they held him captive since May 23.

The police said Maute terrorists raped numerous women they held inside the mosques as shields to prevent military forces from closing in.

It was Dela Peña who reported that the Maute torched the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians in the city on the same day the diocese was supposed to be celebrating the feast of its patron saint.

There was no information on the fate of other hostages that Suganob said could reach more than 200, including six other teachers from Dansalan College, when he appealed to Duterte on a video released by IS in May as proof of life. "The rescue operation is still ongoing", he said.

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