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More details emerge on Malaysian militant, son in Marawi

 | October 22, 2017

Both father and son could speak Tagalog, says former hostage.

kid_isis_600KOTA KINABALU: More details have emerged about a boy who was spotted fighting alongside his Malaysian militant father in the besieged southern Philippine city of Marawi.

Citing a former hostage who had seen the boy and his father, FMT had reported on Friday that the boy was around 13 years old.

The former hostage, college teacher Lordvin Acopio, had said the Philippine authorities had confirmed to him that the boy was the son of the Malaysian militant.

Acopio, who was taken hostage by militants when the fighting broke out on May 23, said the boy was always at the frontline with his father.

“I had limited contact with the teenager because he was always at the frontline together with his father,” he told FMT.

“I only talked to the boy when they dropped by at the place where we were held.

“Sometimes, they just dropped by to rest or talk to some of the other fighters.

“When they were done, they’d go back to the frontline.”

Acopio, whose harrowing experience was widely reported by the Philippine media, was taken by the militants from one hiding place to another and one of them was the Bato Mosque, which was used as a command centre by the terrorists.

“There were children who were kidnapped along with their families, around 15 of them and the Malaysian boy would play with them.

“I think the Malaysian militant and his son could speak Tagalog,” he said.

“I don’t know what they talked about because we weren’t allowed to listen in.”

Acopio, who taught at Dansalan College near where the war broke out, would sometimes tease the Malaysian boy for his poor command of English.

“The Malaysian boy wasn’t fluent in English. I’d tell him to talk to Jaber, a militant from Saudi Arabia, in English.

“The boy would just smile and refused to do so because he didn’t speak English very well.

“At other times, when I teased him again, the Malaysian boy would smile and walk away.”

Earlier, FMT had reported Acopio as saying that the Malaysian boy was always at his father’s side and carried a gun.

“I saw him together with his son,” said Acopio.

“I don’t know his age, maybe he’s around 13. He’s small but he’s carrying a gun already.

“He was involved in fighting the troops. The father and son were always together.”

FMT reported its findings on Saturday to the Malaysian authorities and Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police would investigate the matter.

Today’s reports from Marawi said the Malaysian militant and other fighters were cornered by troops in a house in the main battle area in the city.

Ranao Joint Task Force deputy commander Col Romeo Brawner Jr said the military believed some hostages-turned-militant wives and “child warriors” were also holed up in the house.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the protracted fighting between the militants and government troops.

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