ILIGAN city was placed under a temporary lockdown amid fears that members of the Maute Group may enter the city disguised as civilians.
The lockdown took effect from 12 midnight to 3 a.m. on Monday.
It was implemented after Otto, one of the Maute brothers, warned that the group will also attack other cities.
“Nsaallah [God willing] we will come to Iligan this week. Alhamdulillah. Then Cotabato and CDO [Cagayan de Oro City] to Davao,” Otto posted on his Facebook account on Sunday afternoon.
Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia said officials wanted to avoid clashes inside the city, Capital of Lanao del Norte province, amid the crisis in nearby Marawi City.
City officials also implemented a curfew as government forces battled militants in Marawi. It was expanded on Monday from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Col. Alex Alduca, Commanding Officer of the Philippine Army’s 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, said that some members of the Maute Group are pretending to be civilians to escape Marawi City.
“We have reports that some of their comrades, these armed groups, are mixing in with the civilian evacuees especially those [Maute members] who were severely wounded,” Aduca said in a radio interview.
He added that some Maute militants captured in a checkpoint were turned over to the police for investigation.
“We coordinated with other security forces to put Iligan City under lockdown for the meantime,” Aduca said.
“This means that anyone entering Iligan City, if they are not a local resident of Iligan, they were being ordered to return to their respective hometowns,” he added.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, clarified that the lockdown meant “strict implementation of security measures for those coming in and out [of Iligan]to prevent entry of armed and evil elements.”
with DEMPSEY REYES