Philippines vows to save hostages as fight corners militants

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 1, 2017

"As in previous statements that we have released, the number may have swelled from the initial beginning because they went to the jail to free up over a hundred prisoners", he said.

Fighting raged on between government soldiers and ISIS-aligned militants in Marawi, Philippines, on Tuesday.

Government troops cross a bridge after securing a village outside Marawi city, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in the southern Philippines.

The following day, several local media outlets, such as ABS-CBN and The Philippine Star, reported that the militant group was holding at least 40 people hostage in an unspecified location, but the military had retaken control of the hospital and city hall.

"That 10 per cent is most likely the area that is heavily guarded and defended by any armed men if they are protecting any individual of high value", Gen Padilla said.

A politician involved in efforts to evacuate residents, Zia Alonto Adiong, said authorities had cleared 85 per cent of the city but reclaiming the rest would be a challenge because they were dense urban areas with trapped civilians. Authorities were working to confirm that another top militant had been killed.

At an evacuation center outside the besieged Philippine city of Marawi on Wednesday, the results of a week of misery - a week of violence and uncertainty and long nights and promises of better tomorrows - were evident in the faces and hearts of the displaced.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared martial law on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines on Tuesday night, vowed to crush the IS-linked militants that tried to occupy the city last week to carve out a caliphate out of Mindanao.

Moreover, upon learning about this terror-related collaboration, Duterte also sought the support of three revolutionary organizations to fight the militant groups in Marawi and nearby municipalities in Lanao Province.

The heating gunfight in Marawi between the Philippine government and the Maute insurgents have taken casualties, not just Filipinas, but people from other nations.

"It was taken in Marawi and it was him, and the emotions that came out I think were really authentic", he said, adding that Suganob looked truly afraid when an explosion was heard in the background.

"Martial law is a means of last resort", the bishops said.

The Maute militants set fire to churches and other buildings as they entered the city, flying the flag of the so-called Islamic State, to which they pledged allegiance past year.

He said the video seems authentic, but the Rev. Teresito Suganob appeared to be speaking under duress and militants are apparently using the video for propaganda.

"We still want to live for another day, a month and a few years, please consider us Mr President."
"They are in areas that they will never come out alive unless they surrender".

The violence in the city erupted on May 23 as security forces raided on the suspected house of Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf group and leader of a branch of the IS group in the Philippines.

The dead include 89 militants, 19 civilians and 21 government forces, Padilla said.

Duterte has suggested he might extend martial law until the end of the year or impose it nationwide, a possibility that has alarmed critics of the government and survivors of the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos.

Hapilon and the two Maute leaders - brothers after whose surname the group is named - were still believed to be in Marawi, local military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told reporters.

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