A Filipino priest who was abducted last week by Islamic State-linked radicals has appeared in a newly released video, imploring Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to give the extremists what they’re asking for.
In the clip, which was posted on Bisaya News’ Facebook page, a man who appears to be the Rev. Fr. Teresito Suganob of St. Mary church, located in Marawi City, pleads with Duterte to listen to the radicals’ demands, according to CNN Philippines.
“Mr. President, we are in the midst of this war. We are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for,” the priest says, noting that his captors want Duterte to withdraw forces “from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City” and to halt air attacks.
“They just ask that you leave this place peacefully,”Suganob continues. “Do not give so much attack.”
The priest, who is among others who were captured and are being held as “prisoners of war,” says in the video that around 240 people have been detained alongside him. He tells the president that he and the others want to live.
“We want to live another day, we want to live another month, we want to live a few years,” he says. “And in your generosity, Mr. President, in your heart, we know you can make something.”
One of Suganob’s colleagues told the Associated Press that the man in the video is, indeed, the priest, though additional details, including where and when the video was recorded and whether Suganob’s statements were forced, were not immediately clear.
“I was glad to see that he is alive,” Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Pena told the AP. “But we were also saddened because the fact that the terrorists are ready to negotiate means they are pressed against the wall and they are also desirous to get away from the situation and their bargaining chip are the hostages.”
As Faithwire previously reported, Duterte made the decision to place the island of Mindanao under martial law last week after a raid to capture a terror suspect in Marawi city failed, sparking violence that culminated in Islamic State-linked extremists sieging the city.
Amid the chaos, Muslim extremists captured buildings — including a Catholic Church — and took hostages. A battle for control of the city is ongoing, though the military has reportedly recaptured 70 percent of the land. Pockets of extremist control still remain.
Other Must-Read Stories: