Maranao Ambassadors spoke with Abdullah Maute during ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr

Philippine ambassadors took advantage of the short ceasefire in the fight over Marawi City and met with a leader of a militant group loyal to the ISIS.

The eight Muslim leaders entered the war-stricken city  and met with Abdullah Maute, one of the two brothers leading the Maute-ISIS group. However, their discussions are still unclear.

Retired General Dickson Hermoso, who coordinates efforts to free trapped civilians stated that the 8-hour truce to mark the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday was extended to make way for the talks.

"We need to balance this because this is very precarious," Hermoso told reporters.

The terrorist group released some women and children on Sunday.

We have only established a foothold with the Maute," he said. "We hope both sides will again grant us the respite."

The military said on Saturday that Abdullah Maute escape from the city and was no longer in the fight. Although still under verification, his brother Omarkhayam was most likely one of the seven Maute brothers killed during the clashes.

A source stated that the ambassadors were locals of Marawi City and were only permitted to meet with the Maute because they were from the same "Maranao" clan.

Jo-Ar Herrera, military spokesperson stated that their operations were put to halt in respect with the ceasefire and were holding defensive positions.

"We have reports there were around five people who came out from ground zero," Herrera told the media. "We're very confident we can rescue more," he added.

Clashes cause the displacement of 246,000 residents and killed more than 350, most of them rebels, and about 69 members of the security forces. Twenty-six civilians have been killed but officials believe many more could be dead. "This is supposed to a day of happiness," said Imam Aleem Ansari Abdul Malik, who led the prayers.

"Families should be together but they were torn apart. He reminded Muslims to shun the advances of radical groups. "This is just a small fire, do not allow the flames to go bigger by joining extremists," he said.

The military is confident that the conflict will soon end.

Head of the Western Mindanao civil-military operations, Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Garcia stated on Saturday that the Malaysian terrorist fundraiser has been killed, while the "emir" of ISIS's in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon fled.

The military had taken down three Maute members and wounded one during their encounter on Friday morning. The injured terrorist member was given treatment for his wounds before turning him over to the police.

Despite all of these, the government troops will not take any offensive from the Maute gorup in respect to Eid'l Fitr on June 25.

On recent statements, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-Of-Staff General Eduardo Año said that the terrorists are scattered in the entire Philippines and mostly are Indonesians. He also warned that their number could rise dramatically in the coming months.

"As we counted, about 20 Indonesians and the rest iba-iba. May Malaysians, may Saudi, may mga Yemen," he said.

Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, martial law spokesperson for Eastern Mindanao, said in a press briefing that these foreign terrorists have been identified by the authorities. Most are from Indonesia and Malaysia while some are from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

"Sa Mosul ngayon, maganda rin yung allied forces dun. In fact, they are forecasting in six months, matalo nila yung ISIS doon. So we expect na yung mga madidisplace doon, pupunta ng Asia. And because of the Marawi crisis, parang magnet itong Pilipinas. Yun yung babantayan natin," he said.

Source: GMA