Philippines official: Terror suspect still in besieged city

Posted May 29, 2017

"In numerous instances where their camps have been overtaken by our troops, there is evidence of the presence of drug paraphernalia, particularly with this Maute Group, such that our soldiers have been reporting that they've been fighting suicidally, meaning, without any regard for their own safety and like zombies".

"We can still talk about it", Duterte said.

He said Hapilon suffered a stroke after a government airstrike wounded him in January. Military chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said the militants erected ISIS flags at several locations.

"We will make this their cemetery", he said.

Such attacks that will be initiated by the NPA would only worsen the situation in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

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"We need to ensure that none of their members will escape from the city by disguising themselves as civilians", he said. Duterte, who cut his Russian Federation visit short to return home, said he heard reports they may have beheaded a police chief.

Although much of the city is sealed off, disturbing details were trickling out.

Duterte said Wednesday that militants who have laid siege to the city of Marawi had decapitated the police chief of Malabang. Enriquez has been in the job for about two months. Last year, he was reportedly chosen to lead the Islamic State group branch in Southeast Asia.

A Catholic priest has been taken hostage by ISIS in Marawi cathedral.

Meanwhile, 18 members of the Maute group were killed in fresh gun battle as government troops cleared two bridges heading towards Bangulo. He went on to organize an alliance in the Philippines called Dawlatul Islam Wilayatul Mashriq, which is now believed to include at least 10 small militant groups including some Abu Sayyaf factions.

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A woman touches an image of Jesus Christ shortly after attending a mass for victims of the recent attack in Marawi by Muslim militants linked to the Islamic State group and also for extrajudicial killings inside a church in Man.

Washington has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Hapilon's capture. He has repeatedly threatened to place the south, the scene of decades-long Muslim separatist uprisings, under martial law.

In a travel notice posted on its website on Thursday (May 25), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Singaporeans travelling to or residing in the southern region of Mindanao should monitor the news and heed the instructions of local authorities.

About 78 civilians held captive by the Maute Group inside the Amai Pakpak Medical Center public hospital in the city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines have been rescued.

Duterte has warned that he might expand martial law nationwide, an unnerving prospect for many in the Philippines who lived through the rule of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

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"By virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and by law, I had to declare martial law in the Mindanao group of islands for a period not exceeding 60 days, effective as of May 23, 2017", Duterte was quoted in The Philippine Star as saying.