ZAMBOANGA CITY – Seaborne personnel have discovered 30 assorted high-powered firearms in Lake Lanao believed to have been disposed by terrorists who fled from Marawi City, the military reported on Monday.
Brig. Gen. Roseller Murillo, Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, said the firearms were recovered at around 7 a.m. Sunday at the lake area in front one of the buildings that served as the last stand of the Maute group in Barangay Marinaut, Marawi City.
Recovered were the following firearms: one caliber 50 machine gun; three M-60 machine guns; 12 M-14 rifles; four caliber 50 sniper rifles; two AK-47 rifles; two carbine rifles; three FAL rifles; one M-79 rifle; and, two M-16 rifles.
“More search and clearing operations are underway. The recovered armaments are now in our custody while proper documentation and labeling are being undertaken by our troops,” Murillo added.
Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., deputy commander of Task Force Marawi, said it is believed the terrorist threw their weapons into the lake during the last hours of the firefight when they sensed defeat.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said they deployed four scuba divers from the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) to help in the clearing operation in Marawi City.
“I would like to congratulate our soldiers in Marawi (City) for this recent accomplishment,” Galvez said.
“May this inspire them to bolster their intelligence efforts in order to uproot and recover other armaments that could be left by the terrorists in the area,” he added.
“The likelihood that there could be more hidden armaments is very high,” he further said.
The Joint Task Force Ranao is also conducting sustained security operations outside the former Main Battle Area in Marawi City to pursue other allied terrorist groups particularly towards southern portion of Lanao del Sur.
“We will include these newly recovered firearms to be destroyed and demilitarized scheduled later this month,” Galvez said.
“We will be working for a gun-free as well as a drug-free Marawi,” he added. (PNA)