Monday, 23 October, 2017

Foreigners among militants fighting Philippine army in Mindanao - solicitor

A policeman stands at a checkpoint in the capital Manila after the Philippine National Police were placed on full alert following the declaration of martial law in southern Mindanao Foreigners among militants fighting Philippine army in Mindanao - solicitor
Kenny Thornton | 26 May, 2017, 17:49

Troops began clearing out a southern Philippine city besieged by Islamist militants, with hostilities easing on Thursday after thousands fled as the rebels seized large parts of the city and torched buildings in a battle with government forces.

Ground troops hid behind walls and armoured vehicles and exchanged volleys of gunfire with Maute group fighters, shooting into elevated positions occupied by militants who have held Marawi City on Mindanao island for two days.

The violence erupted Tuesday night when authorities launched an unsuccessful raid to capture Hapilon.

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 arms we ordered from America [was] cancelled", Mr Duterte said. They said six soldiers perished in Thursday's fighting.

"We are in a state of emergency", Duterte said Wednesday after he cut short a trip to Moscow and flew back to Manila. "If there is an open defiance, you will die".

It was meant to be a "surgical operation" to capture one of the world's most wanted terrorists, who was hiding and wounded in a southern Philippine city.

The sources said another Malaysian, former Universiti Malaya lecturer Dr Mahmud Ahmad, is also in Marawi City, working with Abu Sayyaf leader Isninon Hapilon.

Reporters heard gunfire and saw plumes of smoke rising from the centre of the cordoned-off city as helicopters roared overhead. Mohammad Usman, a 49-year-old Marawi resident, said some people are likely trapped with no way out. "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find their way to my house and hit us". I appeal to the consciences of the hostage takers not to harm the innocent as the Islamic faith teaches.

Gianforte Choke Slams Guardian Reporter
It contends he "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face and began asking badgering questions" before being asked to leave. He said of the politician's account "The only thing that is factually correct .is my name and place of employment".

Indonesia's elite anti-terror squad was Thursday investigating a suicide bombing near a Jakarta bus station that killed three policemen in an assault authorities believe is linked to Daesh. Five soldiers and two police officers were killed earlier in the week. He pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014.

The problem of militancy in the south, the scene of decades-long Muslim separatist uprisings in the predominantly Catholic nation, is not new.

"Right now, he is still inside (the city)", Gen. Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press.

Hapilon's escape on Tuesday has had broader implications than IS's prospects in the Philippines, with Duterte citing the ensuing violence as justification to declare martial law over Mindanao and threaten military rule for the rest of the country. The group, founded by brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute, started as a small band of petty criminals.

He defended his proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, saying it was necessary to root out the militants who attacked Marawi on Tuesday, burning buildings and taking some dozen hostages.

Arevalo said troops had cleared militants from a hospital, the city hall and Mindanao State University. "As their base [in Syria] was destroyed, they converged and spread combatants to countries of origin to build a new base", Wiranto said. "The Mautes are embedded in the population".

The black flags of IS were planted atop buildings and flown from commandeered vehicles, including a government ambulance and an armoured auto, said Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jnr, vice-governor of Lanao del Sur province, of which Marawi is the capital.

The Maute has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte's hometown, last September.

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