ISIS siege parts of Marawi City, Philippines, Martial Law Declared
BAILEY T. STEEN | NEWSLOGUE | MAY 24, 2017
After months of fighting in the urban countryside of the Philippines, the Islamic State-linked terror group, known as Maute, have stormed the streets of Marawi City with up to 15 assault rifle wielding gunmen as of early Tuesday afternoon.
The Maute is a radical Islamist group with several former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, guerrilla fighters and other foreign militants, with black attire and murder tactics similar to that of their affiliate, ISIS.
The governor of the Lanao del Sur, Mamintal Adiong Jr, urged residents in the area to remain inside as firefights raged between the Islamic militants and government forces. Talking to The Philippine Star, a national newspaper, over the phone, Governor Adiong said “I’m appealing to residents of Marawi City to stay home, drop on the ground if they hear gunshots. They have to lock their doors and gates too.”
Witnesses and Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated more than 100 militia gunmen are now involved in the conflict, and that the group occupied a hospital and jail with several hostages. Photos were taken of the Islamic State flags that were found on several vehicles in the area.
“There [were] no indications that an attack like this will happen,” one resident said. “There are no checkpoints in the city. Everything is in silence. No news about the city government. Everything is vague.” Several military battalions have been sent in to resolve the matter.
Philippine Defence Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, stated more than 100 gunmen are now involved with the conflict with Phillipinnes officials, had occupied a hospital and a jail, and burned down buildings, including a Catholic Church.
At least three fires have broken out as the fighting continued into the night, according to Rappler, with one at the Marawi City Jail, another at the Dansalan College, and the last at Saint Mary’s Church. The military gave a comment that the fires are outside the area of military operation, which suggest the fires were caused by radical Islamic sympathisers. Rappler so far has the death count at one cop, two soldiers, five civilians and seven wounded in the ongoing battle.
Since March President Duterte has threatened to impose Martial Law if several mayors in the Islamic sects of the Philippines didn’t break these groups up, even pledging to ignore human rights if the Islamist problem worsened.
Erupting during his diplomatic trip to Moscow, Russia, Presidential spokesperson, Ernesto Abellas, made the announcement President Duterte has officially announced Martial Law is in effect on the entire island of Mindanao. This in effect suspends all ordinary law in the region including large sections unaffected by terrorism. The spokesperson for Duterte, when questioned, stated it will be in effect on the island for up to 60 days, and that the President will be flying home to deal with the crisis.
President Duterte has been the subject of mass condemnation for his administration’s illegal and controversial activities, such as the countless genocide of drug users in the country and the support of rape in a joke.
Regarding the decision of enacting Martial Law, Abellas’ response was simply “It was the President’s order.”
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia. To support this content, and more to come like it, the options include Patreon and Paypal, where I hope to keep this content free.
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