Foreigners among militants fighting Philippine army in Mindanao - solicitor

Elias Hubbard
May 27, 2017

Teachers who were trapped in the siege by Muslim militants of Marawi city wait for their transport back to their hometowns in southern Philippines Thursday, May 25, 2017.

At least 44 people, a lot of them suspected militants, have been killed. Their condition is unknown.

Davide expressed his sympathy to the families of the soldiers and civilians who were killed in Marawi. "They're getting caught in the conflict and I hope this ends soon".

Mohammad Usman, a 49-year-old Marawi resident, said some people are likely trapped with no way out. "They want to create Mindanao as part of the caliphate", he said. If Hapilon does escape, it would be a huge blow for the Philippine authorities in their efforts to stamp out what Duterte has said is a fast-rising threat from the Islamic State group.

Foreign fighters are among Islamist militants killed in a southern Philippine city over the past days, officials say. It is not clear if any civilians are among the dead.

President Rodrigo Duterte had also declared martial law across the southern third of the country to quell the crisis, while numerous 200,000 residents had fled... and security forces had lost their target: Isnilon Hapilon.

"The festering rebellion of the Maute terrorist group which has pledged allegiance to the virulent ISIS, otherwise know as Daesh in Arabic, is a compelling reason why martial law was declared", he said.

"If I think that the ISIS has already taken foothold also in Luzon and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people", said the President, at a news conference in Manila, Wednesday.

He gave his troops a free hand to wrest control of Marawi.

"During martial law, your commanders, you can arrest any person, search any house, no need for a warrant", Duterte said in direct contravention of the Philippines' 1987 constitution.

Foreign fighters were also seen fighting alongside the local terrorists in Marawi City, according to Calida.

"We can still talk about it", Mr Duterte said. "But those who are out-and-out terrorists, and you can not be convinced to stop fighting, so be it. Let us fight".

"Right now, he is still inside (the city)", General Eduardo Ano told the Associated Press. "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find its way to my house and hit us". The Philippines launched an airstrike that wounded him in January, but he got away.

"This is evidenced in the Davao City bombing last September where young Moros were involved. We are brothers, Filipinos", said Davide. "We have to finish this". In 2005, the US Treasury Department seized Hapilon's assets for suspected terrorist activities and association with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Much of Marawi, which is in Lanao del Sur province, was still a no-go zone Thursday. President Rodrigo Duterte said a local police chief was stopped at a militant checkpoint and beheaded.

FilepicAnother Malaysian, identified as former Universiti Malaya lecturer Dr Mahmud Ahmad is also believed to be active on the ground in Marawi City, reportedly working with Basilan Abu Sayaff leader Isninon Hapilon to push for the creation of the Islamic State in South East Asia, The Star reports.

Hostilities erupted after security forces raided a Marawi apartment in a bid to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of Abu Sayyaf.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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