14 hostages escape Maute captors in Marawi

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Marawi City (CNN Philippines, May 29) — Up to 14 hostages of the Maute group made a daring bid to escape from their captors on Monday as government forces shelled the terror group's lair.

Ten of the 14 hostages who escaped met with reporters said they took advantage of the military airstrikes earlier today to escape, as the Maute members fought off government forces.

They recalled their ordeal, which included seeing one of their fellow hostages beheaded on Sunday.

The hostages said they were among a group of 20 men who were attempting to evacuate Marawi City on May 27, when they were stopped by 20 armed men in Barangay Mapandi, a Maute lair.

The hostages said four of their companions who were not in their group of 10 had earlier escaped from the building they were being held in.

As the airstrikes were ongoing, they said 11 of them ran out of the building until they reached a bridge, where they swam across the river and met government troops. However, one of them drowned trying to cross the river, they added.

They added they were coached and forced to record a video, appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte that if the government does not heed the demands of the Maute group, the hostages will be beheaded.

The hostages said that one of their companion was beheaded in front of them on Sunday. This prompted them to come up with a plan to escape their captors.

Despite fatigue and hunger, they are thankful to the authorities who helped and excited to tell their families that they have survived.

The escapees are cooperating with police officers in Marawi City, giving them information on the movement and tactics of the Maute group.

The hostages added that there is another group of captives — women and a priest — being held on the second floor of the building they escaped from.

It was not immediately clear if this priest was Father Chito Suganob, who was reported abducted along with some parishioners by the Maute group at the start of the crisis.

President Duterte has placed the entire region of Mindanao under martial law since May 23 following the clashes between members of the Maute group and government forces in Marawi City.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said that as of Monday 61 terrorists, 18 government forces, and 19 civilians have been killed.