31 militants killed in besieged Philippine city

31 militants killed in besieged Philippine city

The eight dead men, a lot of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were laborers who were stopped by Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts of Marawi City while trying to flee clashes, according to police.

"I saw two jets swoop down and fire at rebel positions repeatedly", Alexander Mangundatu, a security guard, told The Associated Press in Marawi as a plume of black smoke billowed from a distant commercial area that was hit. Philippine forces launched fresh airstrikes Sunday to drive out.

He and Filipino rights activists warned it sent the wrong signal to soldiers that they could commit rights abuses as they enforced martial law in the southern region of Mindanao, which Duterte imposed to quell what he says is a major Islamist terrorist threat.

A military helicopter hovers by a mosque as government troops battle with Muslim militants who continue to hold their ground in some areas of Marawi city for nearly a week Monday, May 29, 2017 in southern Philippines.

On Saturday, the Western Mindanao command, in a statement, said there is no civilian casualty in air strikes in Marawi City.

Asked about the presence of foreign fighters in Marawi, Mr Calida said: "Malaysians, Indonesians, from Singapore, and other foreign jihadists, and that is bothersome".

"We don't want what's happening in Marawi to spill over in Iligan", said Colonel Alex Aduca, chief of the Fourth Mechanized Infantry Battalion.

"They are texting us and calling us for help", Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman for the provincial crisis management committee, said of the 2,000 people his office had recorded being unable to leave areas held by the militants. A paper sign attached to one of the men indicated the victims "betrayed their faith". In one area, the bodies of eight men who appeared to have been executed by militants were found in a ravine, police said.

"At night we can hear the gunfire", said Mohammad Usman, who watched from his home just outside Marawi as thousands of residents streamed out of the city Thursday. But the operation went awry and militants rampaged through the city, torching buildings and battling government forces in the streets.




In addition to the civilian deaths, Padilla said 61 militants, 11 soldiers and four police were among the dead.

About a hundred militants seized large parts of Marawi, a Muslim-majority city of more than 200,000 some 814km south of Manila, on Tuesday, after security forces raided a suspected hideout of Arabic-speaking preacher Isnilon Hapilon, named by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as its top man in South-east Asia.

Hapilon's group then called in reinforcements and torched buildings, posted snipers on roof-tops to repel troops and took an unknown number of hostages, including a Catholic priest.

He did not say whether the rebel group would take up Duterte's offer to give guerrillas the same pay and benefits as government troops and build houses for them, if they joined the battle to defeat a common enemy. There was no word on their condition.

All of the groups are inspired by the Islamic State group.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters that Hapilon's group had received a "couple of million dollars:" from Islamic State.

Hapilon, who is a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014.

The United States regards Hapilon as one of the world's most risky terrorists and has offered a bounty of $5 million for his capture.

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