Filipino troops, gunships fight militants in southern city

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Islamist militants locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city have killed 19 civilians, the military said Sunday, bringing the official death toll from almost a week of fighting to at least 85. But the recent violence has raised fears that extremism could be growing as smaller militant groups unify and align themselves with the ideology of the Islamic State group. Up to 90 percent of Marawi's population of 200,000 has fled, while those left in the city wave white flags to signal they are not militants. Isnilon got away and fighters loyal to him took over parts of the city, burning buildings and seizing about a dozen hostages, including a priest.

On May 23, 2017, the Duterte administration declared martial law and suspended habeas corpus after the Islamist armed group Maute attacked Marawi City and killed three security force officers and burned several buildings, including a hospital and school.

Galvez said that the amred forces have been constrained to launching airstikes against identified and specific targets occupied by the Maute group militants.

Malaca├▒ang on Saturday, May 27, defended President Rodrigo Duterte from criticism at home and overseas over his latest rape joke, this time made as he rallied troops to win the war against terrorists in Mindanao under military rule. At least 44 people have died in the fighting, including 31 militants and 11 soldiers.

According to the sources, they could not estimate the number of Malaysians in the area but believe many foreigners are with the militant groups, including Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao and Basilan.

With the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus under the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, Department of the Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy told the police and all DILG units to "observe the rule of law and ensure the observance of human rights in the region". "I'd be harsh." He later said that he "might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people".

Fighting between militants linked to Isis and government forces began after an attempt to arrest a veteran Filipino militant. "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find their way to my house and hit us".

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Much of Marawi was still a no-go zone. "We suspect that but we're still validating", he said.

On Friday, Duterte ordered his troops to crush the militants, warning that the country is at a grave risk of "contamination" by the Islamic State group. Hapilon is on Washington's list of most-wanted terrorists and has a $5 million bounty on his head. Marawi is a mostly Muslim city.

Hapilon, previously based in Basilan, went to Lanao del Sur last December to establish a caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"We call on the Maute group that claims to bear arms in the name of a Merciful and Benevolent God - the very same God we Christians worship and adore - to do the One God true honor by the mercy and benevolence that are two of our God's most exalted attributes", prayed Archbishop Villegas.

In 1972, then-President Marcos imposed martial law and suspended habeas corpus throughout the Philippines, which facilitated widespread abuses by the military and other security forces, including detention without charge, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings.

"So far, there has been no confirmation about their involvement with the Maute group, IS, or other terror groups involved in the clashes in Marawi", Arrmanatha said on Saturday.

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