Philippines puts city on lockdown over fears of militant infiltration
Philippine city of Iligan overflowed with evacuees and Monday over the lightning strike against fears that nearby Marawi Islamist militants, where troops were struggling to expel armed men into buildings for the seventh day. The fighting in the city of Marawi with activists from the pro-Islamic state of the Maute group is the biggest security challenge of the 11-month presidency, Rodrigo Duterte, the armed men who keep parts of the city and pushing air attacks by helicopters and ground attacks By the commands.
Most of the 200,000 people left Marawi, Iligan pay a lot, some 38 kilometers (24 miles), where authorities said they were at the limit and the feared fighters do not base Maute with internally displaced persons and can launch attacks. “We do not want what is happening in Marawi Iligan is spreading,” said Colonel Alex Aduca, head of the fourth mechanized infantry battalion. “We want to ensure the safety of people here, to prevent the elements to introduce and carry out terrorist activities,” he told DZMM radio.
He said some rebels were captured trying to enter Iligan, but gave no further details. Sixty-one militants, members of security and 19 civilian forces have died since Wednesday, when rebels began MAUTE ramps in Marawi after an unsuccessful attempt by the military to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the government believes it is a male Islamic state In the Philippines.
The Maute group’s ability to fight the army for so long will add to fears that the radical ideology of the Islamic state is spreading in the southern Philippines and could become a haven for militants from Indonesia to Malaysia and other places. The army believes Maute have taken their attack before the holy month of Ramadan to attract the attention of the Islamic State and be recognized as a Southeast Asian affiliate. Marawi told eyewitnesses that they saw militants fighting the Islamic state flag and wearing black uniforms and belts typical of the group.
Troops on the streets of Marawi snipers fired at Maute while the smoke came from several buildings. Trucks loaded with marines arrived to reinforce the troops guarding the deserted streets like helicopters that circulate around the city bordering the lake, surrounded by hills of the jungle. The army said the Maute group was still present in nine of the city’s 96 barangays, or communities. Thousands of people were stranded, fearing they might be intercepted by militants who have set up checkpoints on roads outside the city.
Civilians trapped in Marawi ran out of food and were concerned that the shots were militants, said Zia Alonto Adiong, a politician who coordinates civilian evacuation efforts. He said that there were still bodies in Marawi and civilians the military wanted to avoid air strikes. “The anticipation of death is worse than death itself,” he said in a television interview. “We call on our military to take a different approach.”
The body that has been executed, civilians were found in a ravine outside of Marawi Sunday as the crisis took a more sinister turn. Most of the eight men were shot in the head and some were related. The army said it was possible that other “atrocities” had taken place. Duterte has imposed martial law last week in Mindanao, an island of 22 million people marking Marawi and Iligan, to quell the riots and eradicate militancy.
Some human rights activists and lawmakers say that martial law throughout the island is an overreaction that will increase the risk of human rights violations by security forces. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the imposition of martial law was necessary and constitutional. “It began to beat the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in several areas, in an attempt to openly eliminate of loyalty to the government of the Philippines this part of Mindanao,” Abella told reporters. “This is the crime of rebellion.”