COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Authorities arrested 11 men they claimed are members of the Maute group and seized a number of weapons, including a mortar and rocket launcher, in a raid in Marogong town, Lanao del Sur Monday.
However, Guiamaluden Hassan Mamukao, who described himself as regional state vice chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front faction led by Nur Misuari, said the 11 belong to their organization and not to the armed group authorities said has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Mamukao and relatives of the suspects went to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Cotabato City to demand their release.
The CIDG-ARMM led the police and military units that mounted the operation in Barangay Romagondong.
A brief firefight preceded the arrests of Abdulah Gaos, Nasif Esmael, Gutingon Alah, Tayro Mamanoc, Ekmad Esmail, Alvin Adam, Monib Gutumongan, Ibrahim Caronan, Cayrodin Ditarongan, Camsi Lao, and Gaso Mazo Badua, 6th Infantry Division commander, Major General Arnel dela Vega, said.
Dela Vega said the suspects had long been under surveillance.
Seized from the suspects were a 60 millimeter mortar, a B-40 rocket launcher, an M60 machinegun, a .50 caliber sniper rifle, an M14 rifle, an M16 rifle, a .30 caliber carbine, and an M1 Garand.