Protesters oppose martial law in Philippines

Protesters oppose martial law in Philippines

Protesters oppose martial law in Philippines

Security experts say Mindanao could become a draw for regional extremists and the Maute's alignment with the Islamic State group and its ability to take on the military could support moves to secure funding and recruit foreign and local fighters.

Duterte made the remark in a speech to soldiers on Mindanao island, where he imposed martial law on Tuesday to try to crush Islamic State-linked rebels, who have been battling the military after laying siege to a southern city.

The sources said Dr. Mahmud, also known as Abu Handzalah, is now the only trusted lieutenant linked to Baghdadi besides the injured Isnilon in southern Philippines. Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into the southern Philippine. "Hence, it is now increasingly becoming necessary to use more surgical airstrikes to clear the city and to bring this rebellion to a quicker end", AP quoted a military statement as saying.

Duterte has warned he may expand martial law throughout the entire country if he believed the terrorism threat had spread. It was not clear whether civilians were among the dead. But the recent violence has raised fears that extremism could be growing as smaller militant groups unify and align themselves with the ideology of IS.

"Based on reports, he is still in the city", Herrara told reporters in Marawi as gunfire crackled in the background.

"If they want to talk, I will be most thankful to Allah that we talk about peace", Duterte said Friday in a visit to Iligan City in the country's Mindanao region.

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He gave his troops a free hand to wrest control of Marawi. "If you fight us, you will die".

Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao pointed out that Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Ano, the implementer of martial law, previously faced charges of human rights violations. "We can not just pinpoint the particular spot".

The group has been blamed for a bombing that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte's hometown, last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offensives. "We have to finish this".

In a sign that the long-standing problem of militancy in the south could be expanding, Solicitor General Jose Calida said foreigners were fighting alongside the gunmen in Marawi, including Indonesians and Malaysians. "We would be much higher now in the ranking of nations, in the appreciation of other nations for the Philippines, if we did not have martial law", he said.

Duterte said Wednesday that militants who have laid siege to the city of Marawi had decapitated the police chief of Malabang.

Isnilon was declared as the Emir of the IS forces in the Philippines early previous year but he was reportedly badly injured in an aerial attack on Basilan about two months ago. The gunmen planted black IS flags, took a priest and up to 14 other people hostage from a church, and set fire to buildings.

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Hapilon, an Islamic preacher, is a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014. He is at the nexus of several militant groups that are trying to merge into a more powerful force.

Calida said the Maute group and Islamic State wanted to create an "ISIS province" in Mindanao and the government was not the only target of their aggression.

Washington has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Hapilon's capture.

"Just because you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you are a son of a bitch", Duterte said then.

Martial law is extremely sensitive in the Philippines because dictator Ferdinand Marcos used it as a tool to remain in power for part of his two-decade rule, which ended with a "People Power" revolution in 1986.

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    Filipino troops, gunships fight militants in southern city

    Catholics in the Philippine capital have attended a Mass for people in the southern region now under martial law and in Marawi. We will win this", he said. "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find their way to my house and hit us".

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