Maranaos help 39 Christian families, 7 students escape Marawi siege

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COTABATO CITY: Fleeing Maranaos from Marawi City brought with them non-Muslims as they fled out of the city as fighting rages Sunday, officials said.

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Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr said in a phone interview that the safe passage out of the city of 39 Christian settlers was initiated by Salma Jayne Tamano and her Maranao relatives.

Adiong said the story of fleeing residents helping other residents have become common among the populace whose intention was to save lives.

The 39 families have not eaten solid food for the past three days, according to Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes, provincial police director.

“They stayed in their homes in Lilod Madaya and Saduc in the city while terrorist groups and soldiers traded bullets for more than 30 hours,” Nantes said.

Stories of Muslims helping non-Muslims have also been reported during the early hours of attacks by terrorists, a clear indication that the conflict is not between Muslims and Christians but between terrorists and humanity, Adiong said.

Maranaos also helped seven Christian classmates in Marawi City reviewing for the board examination in social work.

The seven were from Tacurong City and had been staying in Mindanao State University for nine days when fighting broke out.

Jay Gee Villaruz, one of the students, said they were in their dormitory with other Maranao students at the start of hostilities.

“Our Maranao classmates lent us Muslim dress and taught us to memorize a Muslim prayer so that when the terrorists arrive, we will be spared,” Villaruz said.

The students were rescued by soldiers on Thursday, two days after the hostilities broke out and were sent home to Tacurong City with the help of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) disaster officials.

Adiong also lauded his Muslim brothers and sisters for protecting the 39 families and facilitated their escape out of the city. PNA

PNA/CC

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