Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
PHOTO BY PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS/FACEBOOK
MANILA – Philippine officials said fighters from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are among the terrorists who have attacked and taken over Marawi City in central Mindanao last Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte told the attackers to surrender or face the wrath of the Philippine military.
The terrorists, made up mostly of members of the Maute Group which supports the Islamic State, attacked Marawi City, capital of the central Mindanao province of Lanao del Sur last Tuesday. They raided a hospital and burned down a church, school and the city’s jail.
The terrorists have taken hostage a priest and church workers and have reportedly killed seven civilians.
Duterte declared Martial Law on Mindanao last Tuesday and had to cut short his four-day trip in Russia following the siege.
Thirty-one terrorists, 11 soldiers and two policemen have died in the clashes between government troops and the attackers as of last Thursday while 30 soldiers have been wounded.
The Army said Malaysians, Indonesians and other foreigners were among the terrorists who were killed.
This was confirmed by Solicitor General Jose Calida. “What’s happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens. It has transmogrified into invasion by foreign terrorists, who heeded the call of the IS (Islamic State) to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq and Syria,” Calida said in a press conference in Davao City.
Calida also said the Maute group and IS want to create their own “IS province” in Mindanao and the government was not the only target of their aggression.
Meanwhile, Duterte yesterday visited troops in Iligan City, which is near Marawi. During his visit, Duterte said: “My message mainly to the terrorists on the other side is, we can still solve this through dialogue.”
So far, the Marawi attackers have held on to their positions in the city and have entry and exit points. Majority of the city residents have fled Marawi to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. GAC/Expat Media
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