Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warns of 'contamination' by Islamic State group

Cheryl Sanders
May 28, 2017

Thousands of people have since fled the mainly Muslim city in Lanao del Sur province on the southern island of Mindanao.

More than 30,000 residents from Marawi City were at evacuation centers and another 42,000 had fled to relatives' homes outside the city.

A Philippine military spokesman, however, said that while the groups in Marawi were inspired by IS, they had not seen "any concrete evidence of material support from IS".

Duterte signed the Proclamation No. 216 which placed the entire island of Mindanao in a state of Marial Law and the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Russian Federation hours after the gun battles erupted. Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into the southe.

Civilians trapped by fighting in Marawi city are waving white flags from their windows to show they are not combatants.

Islamist militants locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city have killed 19 civilians, the military said Sunday, bringing the official death toll from almost a week of fighting to at least 85.

The raid went awry and gunmen swept through the streets, fending off government forces and taking over large parts of the city.

Former president Fidel Ramos yesterday slammed Mr Duterte for saying on his return to the Philippines that he might place the whole country under martial law, warning against inevitable abuses under military rule. The number of civilian dead was unknown.

"For this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible; just do your jobs", he said. "If you rape three [women], I will say that I did it".

Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside a besieged Philippine city on Sunday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels fending off a military onslaught took a more sinister turn.

"You can arrest any person, search any house without warrant", said Duterte, who has allowed extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in his crackdown on illegal drugs. Some civilians tied white cloths to poles to distinguish themselves from militants as soldiers on foot huddled behind armoured vehicles that crawled along deserted streets. But he said he was willing to talk with the militants. In the meantime, let us fight for the country.

Gen. Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press on Friday that militants are trying to find a way to extricate Hapilon. "We can not just pinpoint the particular spot". He was wounded in a Philippine airstrike in January but got away.

At the cathedral, they took hostages including a Catholic priest and a group of church-goers, threatening to kill them if the nation's military does not cease its current offensive against them.

Setyo Wasisto, a spokesman for the Indonesian police, said an identity card found at the scene bore the name of a man with known connections to the Islamic State. "We have to finish this".

He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller militant groups, including the Maute, which has a heavy presence in Marawi and has been instrumental in fighting off government forces in the current battles. "It has transformed into an invasion of foreign fighters".

"This development validates a series of reports of atrocities committed by the militants earlier", Padilla said.

Other reports by iNewsToday