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Maute, ASG men using shabu—AFP

GOVERNMENT troops seized 11 kilos of high-grade shabu left by Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists who fled after a firefight Sunday in Marawi City, Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command said Monday.

Petinglay said at least 11 one-kilo packs of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), with a street value of between P110 million and P250 million, were recovered during clearing operations after the firefight.

Members of Alfa Company led by 1st Lt. Emerson Tapang of the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion also recovered four high-powered firearms.

“Soldiers spotted men in black emerging from a cluster of houses that prompted troops to maneuver. The terrorists put up a fight but fled while carrying items taken from one of the houses,” Petinglay said.

Since they began battling the terrorists who overran Marawi City on May 23, troops have found sachets of shabu in terrorist positions, she said.

“Troops in the frontline say they are facing drug-crazed individuals who are evidently high on illegal drugs,” Petinglay said.

Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez said the recovery Sunday was the largest so far since fighting started in Marawi.

“This strengthens our findings that these terrorists are using illegal drugs which according to Muslim religious leaders is haram (forbidden). These Maute and ASG terrorists are not Muslims. They have violated every tenet of the teachings in the Holy Quran,” he said.

PACKETS OF SHABU.  Army troopers count packets containing 11 kilos  of the illegal drug ‘shabu’ recovered along with an ISIS flag from an Islamist militants’ position during a press conference at the provincial capitol in Marawi  on June 19, 2017. Hundreds of Islamist militants—supported by foreign fighters—rampaged through Marawi   on May 23 waving black flags of the Islamic State  group.  Duterte declared martial law in  Mindanao to counter the attack, which he said was part of a plan by IS to establish a base in the country. AFP

On June 5, Marines found P79 million in cash and checks from a house abandoned by Maute terrorists.

“Aside from using and peddling illegal drugs, Maute and ASG terrorists are also using mosques as sniper positions, logistics hubs and safe havens for the command and control of their core group,” Galvez said.

Ground troops reporting to Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, said the terrorists were also using mosques as battle positions and drug dens.

“We condemn the acts of the Maute and ASG in using mosques as battle positions as we deplore their use of illegal drugs that is equally evil as both are un-Islamic,” he said.

The Palace said the recovery of 11 kilos of shabu on Sunday validated President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements that the narcotics trade fueled the ongoing siege in Marawi.

“We assume that that is so,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said. 

Topics: Government troops , Shabu , Maute group , Abu Sayyaf group , Marawi City , Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay
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