Philippine military declares humanitarian cease-fire in Marawi

Lawrence Kim
June 26, 2017

The unilateral truce - which was declared partly for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan - was "a gesture of our strong commitment and respect to the Muslim world, particularly to the local Muslims of Marawi City", Padilla added.

Assistant Secretary for the Peace Process Dickson Hermoso said the rescuers risked their lives to pluck out trapped civilians.

During the eight-hour truce, six people, including an elderly man and a boy, were rescued, said the spokesperson.

Mr Khalid had on Friday denied reports quoting Philippine military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano as saying that Mahmud - also known as Abu Hanadzalah - was wounded in the fighting in Marawi last month, and reportedly died on June 7 of his wounds.

For his part, the spokesman for the presidency, Ernesto Abella, said that a ship from the Philippine Navy had been sent to the south of Marawi to supply the troops who are participating in the combats.

"It is a honest gesture which shows respect to the Muslim faith and acknowledges our cultural diversity of our society", Malacanang said in a statement.

In a statement, AFP spokesman Brig.

After the ceasefire expired, the hostilities resumed, with automatic rifle and machine-gun fire and mortar blasts rocking the city.

The intense fighting has turned swaths of the mosque-dotted city, a bastion of the Islamic faith in Mindanao, into a smouldering war zone.

Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino militant is said to be the leader of Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

Images of black-clad fighters and ISIL flags flying in Marawi has caused alarm in the mainly Roman Catholic nation, and the protracted occupation and presence of foreign fighters suggests the the fighters may have bigger designs on the southern Philippines than previously imagined.

Government troops have launched a relentless air and ground offensive in a bid to crush the militants but have failed to dislodge gunmen from entrenched positions in pockets of the city.

On the other hand, more than 260,000 inhabitants of Marawi and surrounding areas have fled or been evacuated to shelters in the nearby towns of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines is winning and that victory is irreversible", Herrera said in a televised press conference.

Muslims attended prayers at a Marawi mosque in an emotional gathering marred by the violence that has displaced some 246,000 people, and killed more than 350 people, majority rebels, and about 69 members of the security forces.

After the ceasefire ends "we will continue to try to enter the areas occupied by them and liberate Marawi", Padilla said on radio station DZBB.

"This (Aidilfitri) is memorable because we are celebrating it away from our homes", he said.

"We are hoping that this problem will soon be over".

Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong said this year's celebration of Eid'l Fitr was the saddest in recent history.

"We have heard that they have already executed some of the Maute members na talagang gustong tumakas so nakikita namin na [who wish to escaped so we see that], I believe they are not expecting that the conflct will be longer than this", Galvez said.

With Mindanao placed under martial law by President Rodrigo Duterte, local officials issued an advisory prohibiting the holding of the Eidl Fitr prayer in public, open spaces-contrary to the usual Muslim practice.

Among the militants killed were foreign fighters from Chechnya, Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

An alliance of ISIS-aligned militant groups, including the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups, seized the opportunity presented by a botched attempt to capture extremist leader Isnilon Hapilon on May 23, occupying positions throughout the city.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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