Government troops seized 11 kilograms of high-grade shabu from Islamist fighters during clearing operations in Marawi City where some 400 militants are still holed out, the military said Monday.
Army Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the drugs were found late Sunday.
“Soldiers spotted armed men in black robes 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. Troops from the Alfa Company of the 49th Infantry Battalion led by First Lt. Emerson Tapang recovered the shabu and four high- powered firearms after figuring in a firefight,” Petinglay said
The shabu stash confirmed suspicions that members of the Maute Group were high on drugs when they fought government troops.
“It may be recalled that numerous sachets of shabu were recovered by troops in the fighting positions of Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups since the first and second week of their attack in Marawi. Troops in the frontline say they are facing drug crazed individuals who are evidently high on illegal drugs,” Petinglay said.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesman for Joint Task Force Marawi, confirmed that during the first two weeks of the armed conflict in Marawi City, members of the Maute Group were observed to be using illegal drugs, citing reports coming from the military’s surveillance and intelligence unit.
“During the first two weeks [of the clash], we have seen that our enemies have been using drugs,” Herrera said.
The seized illegal drug could be worth as much as P250 million.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez of the Western Mindanao Command said that the drug haul was the largest for the military.
“This strengthens our findings that these terrorists are using illegal drugs which according to Muslim religious leaders is haram (forbidden). These Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists are not Muslims,” Galvez said.
Last month, military forces recovered over P76 million in cash and checks from a Maute stronghold following a massive assault that dislodged the militants from an occupied house in Marawi.
with DEMPSEY REYES