Philippines: at least 4 foreign gunmen killed in Marawi clash

He said an apparent surge in the number of rebels could be attributed to the sympathizers they freed from the Marawi City jail.

He said the military has intensified its check point operations to spot those militants who may try to escape by blending with the evacuees. "Not surrendering will mean their sure death", the military's spokesman, Briga- dier-General Restituto Padilla, said yesterday. "We're trying to isolate all these pockets of resistance". Over 100 people have lost their lives and 70,000 have fled the town of 2,00,000 since then.

In a message to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Duterte said "if this martial law lasts and you want to help us fight for the republic".

Philippine Marines backed by Armoured Personnel Carrier sweep down the streets in Marawi City as the military ground operations against the Maute group entered on its ffifth day on Sunday, May 28. Malaysians and Indonesians were among the rebels killed.

The Government believes the Maute carried out their assault before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to capture the attention of Islamic State militants and earn recognition as a regional affiliate.

That has been compounded by social media images of smiling fighters with assault rifles posing on an armoured, USA -made police combat vehicle, dressed in black and wearing headbands typical of Islamic State.

Father Teresito "Chito" Soganub, the city's vicar-general, said there were about 240 other captives.

Helicopters circled the lakeside city and smoke poured out of some buildings. The army is engaged in door-to-door combat to regain the city of Marawi.

On Monday, the AFP spokesperson also belied the reports that Maute group was in control half of Marawi City.

Bilal Sulaiman, a 47-year-old carpenter, said his wife and three children evacuated to safety early in the conflict but he stayed behind to watch their house near the scene of the battle.

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The clashes erupted on May 23 when gunmen waving the black flags of Daesh rampaged through the mostly Muslim-populated city in response to an effort by security forces to arrest militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, a Filipino on the USA government's list of most-wanted terrorists.

The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.

"They are trying to correct a way of living for everybody and they do it by killing people invoking the name of God and that is a very bad ideology", he said. The authenticity of the images has not been independently verified and the military has urged the public not to spread "propaganda".

Government troops head to the frontline as fighting with Muslim militants in Marawi city enters its second week Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in southern Philippines.

The Maute group remained in nine of the city's 96 subdistricts, according to the military.

So far, 19 civilians were executed by the terrorists.

As of noon time, no air strikes have been conducted.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the entire southern region of Mindanao, home to roughly 20 million people, in response to the crisis.

He made an unconventional offer on Saturday to Muslim separatists and communist rebels to become "soldiers of the Republic" and join his fight against extremists.

  • Adam Floyd