Soldiers try to restore order in besieged Philippine city
Soldiers try to restore order in besieged Philippine city
26 May, 2017, 10:01
The Filipino army has sent about 100 soldiers, including U.S. military, into the majority-Muslim city with a population of around 200,000, which was this week overrun by the Maute terrorist group, a militant Islamist group with allegiance to ISIS.
Catholics in the Philippine capital have attended a Mass for people in the southern region now under martial law and in Marawi.
"Singaporeans should remain vigilant and where possible, avoid crowded places, public gatherings, and areas where there are ongoing police or security operations", the notice said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law across the southern third of the country - where Marawi city is located - and warned on Wednesday that he may expand it nationwide. The order came after security forces battled dozens of Islamic State-linked gunmen in the Mindanao city of Marawi.
"On the other hand, the persisting violence in Mindanao hasn't been soft, and so particularly strong-willed people such as the president often think of something forceful like martial law". He says they must be stopped before it is too late. Washington has placed him on its list of most-wanted terrorists and offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
More than 100 armed members of the Maute group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf group attacked the region's Marawi city on Tuesday.
Marawi bishop Edwin de la Pena said the militants forced their way into the Marawi Cathedral and seized 14 people, including a Catholic priest.
"We are in a state of emergency", Pres. Duterte said Wednesday after he cut short a trip to Moscow and flew back to Manila. "With martial law, I will solve all Mindanao problems", said the president, who is often in news for his aggressive political style and a violent anti-drug campaign .
"Martial law of Mr Marcos was very good", Mr Duterte said, as he railed against human rights campaigners and other critics of his drug war.
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Aquino also said he had considered imposing martial law just before standing down previous year in Sulu, island strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf in the far south of Mindanao.
The group was blamed for a September 2016 bombing that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, the president's hometown.
"Today's reporting leaves me even more concerned by President Trump's unusual fascination with dictators, his support for the extra-judicial killings central to President Duterte's "drug war", and his recklessness with sensitive information", said Eliot Engel, top-ranking Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee.
The armed forces said they were on top of the situation but residents who fled told a different story.
Authorities said ending the crisis was proving extremely hard because the militants were holed up in residential buildings, had planted improvised bombs in the streets and had taken Catholic hostages. "I assure you, I am not willing to allow abuses", he said.
Military intelligence said the Maute brothers also had links to two of the region's most risky militants - Indonesian Ustadz Sanusi and Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
Sources said the presence of the Maute Group was monitored in at least 11 of the total 96 barangays in Marawi namely; Barangays Bangon, Saber, Tuca, Banggolo, Naga, Monkado Colony, Caloocan, Marinaut, Mapandi, Matampay, and Basak Malutlot.
While pursuing peace talks with two large Muslim rebel groups in the south, Duterte has ordered the military to destroy smaller extremist groups which have tried to align with the Islamic State group.
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