Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

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Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby jadegil6 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:15 pm

News story dated July 1, 2017 and published online on Microsoft News by AFP

Fighting in Philippine city displaces nearly 400,000:
Islamist militants occupying a southern Philippine city have forced nearly 400,000 people in the wider area to flee their homes, officials said Saturday, while warning of disease outbreaks and psychological trauma among refugees.The city of Marawi, considered the Muslim capital of the largely Catholic Philippines, has been reduced to a ghost town after self-styled followers of the Islamic State movement launched an assault on the city on May 23.
For more than a month, the government has deployed jet fighters, attack helicopters and armored vehicles to crush the militants who are members of the so-called Maute group.
The fighting has left over 400 people dead, while the Maute fighters still control parts of the city, using snipers and improvised explosive devices to slow the military's advance.
Liza Mazo, the regional civil defense director, said it was not just the city's residents leaving the area but also people living in the surrounding communities.
Out of 389,300 who have fled, over 70,380 people have been housed in 79 government-run evacuation centres, while the rest have sheltered with their relatives, according to social welfare department figures.
Mazo said that relief officials have struggled to deal with outbreaks of illness at the evacuation centres as government forces continue to launch air strikes and artillery barrages against the militants.
"There are alarming cases of skin diseases and gastroenteritis. We want to control the outbreak, not just in the evacuation centre but even the home-based (refugees)," she said.
"There are also cases of psychological trauma from the fighting."
Some 26 people who have fled Marawi have since died in hospitals from various ailments, according to the health department's local spokesman Jun Galban, but he declined to say whether their deaths were related to the evacuation.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared martial law over the southern Philippines to deal with the crisis, vowed on Saturday that government forces would crush the extremists.
"We will not go out there (Marawi) until the last terrorist is executed," he said in a speech to government workers.
At one point in his speech, to demonstrate his seriousness, he lifted his shirt to reveal a holstered pistol.
But he conceded, "we are having a hard time."
"We never realized the magnitude of their preparation for their explosives. We got there, they were positioned (with) their snipers. We practically had to climb upward," he said.
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Re: Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby jadegil6 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:53 pm

Photos of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur as the crisis continues. (Just click on the photo to see the entire photo)
I read that over 500,000 people around this area are now displaced, fleeing in fear of becoming a hostage or a casualty.

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Re: Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby cheryz » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:40 am

Let's continue praying for Marawi for will stop the war! I felt sad everytime I watched the news interviewing of people lived there especially some of there family members killed by Isis. I'm hoping for the government can stable the peace sooner and will not spread in other cities if that' happens many people will suffer. Let's pray for Philippines. God bless us all.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
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Re: Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby jadegil6 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:37 am

News on Marawi: (Monday July 24, 2017) (From MSN News.com, and originally published on TIME.com)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday that he is prepared to wait for another year to retake the city of Marawi, parts of which remain occupied by an ad-hoc coalition of Islamist militants, two months after their brazen assault on the southern city.

Officially the death toll in Marawi has now topped 500, including 45 civilians and 114 government troops, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. However as far back as mid-June residents who had fled the city, and a senior army official who declined to be named, separately told TIME they estimated more than 1000 people had been killed.

Despite a sustained ground assault and daily airstrikes — footage from Sunday’s fighting shows buildings in flames — an estimated 70 militants are thought to still be holed up in Marawi.

According to Duterte, the presence of hostages is checking military clearing operations. “I told them ‘do not attack.’ What’s important is we do not want to kill people,” he said Friday. “If we have to wait there for one year, let us wait for one year.”

Duterte’s latest comments — and the elapsing of several self-imposed deadlines to clear the city — add to a growing unease at the Philippines ability to resolve or even contain the Marawi crisis. Government officials in Singapore, Indonesia and elsewhere have expressed fears that Mindanao could become a new hub for ISIS in Southeast Asia and the siege has already inspired violence elsewhere in the region.

On Saturday, Philippine lawmakers approved Duterte’s request to retain martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year. But the following day, one of the city’s holdouts appeared to post a taunt on the encrypted messenger app Telegram.

“Even if you extend until December your Offensive against us, We won’t run out of ammunition and food,” said a user signing off as “Semion Almujaheed.” The account was declared authentic by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis (IPAC).

“Our ammunition is stockpiling because whenever the Philippine Soldiers run (abandon their positions) and those killed in battle, the tendency is they leave behind their weapons and ammunitions,” the user added.

Richard Heydarian, assistant professor of political science at Manila’s De La Salle University, tells TIME that Duterte’s comments are intended to temper public expectations given that the Marawi attack masterminds Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers appear to be still eluding authorities. The crisis, he says, has exposed the operational vulnerabilities of the Philippine military.

“The ISIS affiliates in Mindanao are using cutting edge terror and insurgency tactics which hammered coalition forces in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past decade.”

Research by IPAC, collated in a report published last week, shows that the Marawi operation received direct financing from ISIS central. It also shows a chain of between Syria and Marawi with a Malaysian professor dispatching jihadis and laundered money to the city. Of scores of foreign fighters that traveled to the Philippines to fight, about 20 are thought to be Indonesians.

IPAC director Sidney Jones said it seemed unlikely that the militants could hold out for a year, but regardless, the government needed to be thinking beyond Marawi. Among other measures, the Philippines should investigate how pro-ISIS elements were recruited so that effective interventions can be designed. It should also be working to ensure that evacuation centers do not become new recruiting grounds.

“The risks won’t end when the military declares victory,” Jones said in a statement to media. “Indonesia and Malaysia will face new threats in the form of returning fighters from Mindanao, and the Philippines will have a host of smaller dispersed cells with the capacity for both violence and indoctrination.”
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Re: Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby cheryz » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:26 am

Pres. Duterte extended Martial Law in mindanao. Praying for peace for our country.
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Re: Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby jadegil6 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:17 pm

Marawi News:


Forty sets of remains recovered from the battle zone in the southern Philippine city of Marawi were buried in a public cemetery on Oct. 5, 2017.

It was the third mass burial of people believed to be victims of the four-month-old conflict in the country’s only Islamic majority city.

One other set of bones not buried is believed to belong to a police inspector killed by gunmen who attacked the city on May 23, 2017.

Police officials said that of the 40 sets of bones buried, 25 were those of suspected gunmen who claimed to have links with the so-called Islamic State.

“We can say that they are [Islamic State] fighters because they were wearing black uniforms and they have pistol belts and other indicators that they were fighters,” said Senior Superintendent Mary Leocy Mag-abo of the police’s crime laboratory.

Jelbin Darantinao, a provincial government worker, said burying the remains was “kind of eerie.”

“I am a Christian and I believe that we have souls so I silently said to them while operating the backhoe loader [to fill in the graves] that ‘I am only doing my job, I’m just following orders’, please don’t scare me,” he said.

Government spokesman Ernesto Abella, meanwhile, announced that 17 hostages were rescued on Oct. 5 while eight terrorists had surrendered and turned over another nine hostages to the military.

He said ongoing military operations are focused on rescuing remaining hostages. It is unclear how many other hostages the militants hold.

The four-month old conflict has displaced close to 400,000 people, and resulted in the death of more than 900 others, including 753 terrorists, 155 soldiers and police, and 47 civilians.
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Re: Continued Saga of Terror in Mindanao

Postby jadegil6 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:22 am

(New York Times) MANILA — One of Asia’s most-wanted terrorists was killed Monday (10/16/17) in the southern city of Marawi, the Philippine authorities said, after thousands of government troops pushed over the weekend to reclaim the town from Islamist militants.

The terrorist who died, Isnilon Hapilon, was the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group affiliated with the Islamic State that has held parts of Marawi since May. The police provided a photo of Mr. Hapilon’s body as proof of his death.

Mr. Hapilon and another militant leader, Omarkhayam Maute, led a final stand against government troops that ended with both men’s deaths in a predawn gunfight Monday.

More than 1,000 people, including 800 militants, have been killed since the terrorist groups overran the city five months ago. The government escalated its efforts to end the standoff this weekend. At least 20 soldiers, including a colonel, were wounded in the latest fighting.

Seventeen hostages, including children, were rescued by troops this weekend. Security analysts were cautiously optimistic that fighting could end this week, but they warned that other militant leaders could fill the void left by Mr. Hapilon’s death.

“Our units in the front line are continuing with their offensives to neutralize the remaining terrorists and rescue their hostages to end the crisis in Marawi,” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, a military spokesman.

Mr. Hapilon’s group, Abu Sayyaf, earned a reputation for brutality, including kidnappings and beheadings. In 2001, he organized the abduction of 20 hostages, including three Americans from a resort. Two of the Americans were murdered, an act that led the F.B.I. to put Mr. Hapilon on its most-wanted list and offer $5 million for his capture.

This year, the group beheaded a 70-year-old German yachtsman. Last year, it beheaded two Canadians kidnapped from a beach resort in the southern Philippines.
Mr. Hapilon became the leader of Abu Sayyaf in the 1990s after disavowing the Moro National Liberation Front, a Muslim separatist group that had signed a peace pact with the Philippine government.

Under Mr. Hapilon’s leadership, Abu Sayyaf earned a reputation for being the most violent of the Philippines’ armed Muslim factions.

Terrorism analysts said Mr. Hapilon’s death would not lead to the immediate end of hostilities in the south.

“This is a setback,” said Rommel Banlaoi, the executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, “but terrorist threats will take a new form and continue to challenge the government.”
“There are other leaders who are expected to take his place who still have the intention to wreak havoc,” Mr. Banlaoi said.

Mr. Banlaoi warned of “retaliatory attacks” from Puruji Indama, an Abu Sayyaf lieutenant who remains at large on the island of Basilan, also in the south.

“It’s not over yet,” Mr. Banlaoi said. “Violence will take a new form after Hapilon.”
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