Tahlka News Bureau
Pantar: Thousand of civilians fled Marawi city of Philippines on Wednesday with police and army troopers try to fend off the Islamic State militants who took over large parts of the city, capturing Christians, seizing and torching buildings.
President Rodrigo Duterte have declared martial law for 60 days on southern Mindanao, the Muslim majority island here Marawi City is located, to prevent the spread of extremism in the improvised region. Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq news agency.
The violence started in Marawi island on Tuesday after security forces raided a hideout in Maute that has pledged alliance to the Islamic State.
Apparently, the fierce fighters desperately torched buildings and took over buildings, a hospital, two jails, a church an a college. Durete said they may have beheaded a police chief.
He said Islamic State militant must be repelled from the Christian-majority Philippines by all means possible and to crush the Maute group and the allied Abu Sayyaf. "Anyone now holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one, let us solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all," said Duterte, who is from the island, after cutting short a visit to Russia and returning to Manila.
"If you think you should die, you will die. If you fight us, you will die. If there's an open defiance, you will die, and if it means many people dying, so be it. That's how it is."
Soldiers and guerrillas set up rival checkpoints and roadblocks on routes in an around the island as civilians fled the city of 200,000 in droves, about 830 km (520 miles) south of Manila, leaving behind as one officer defined as a ghost town.
The military has so have rescued 120 people from a school and a hospital and was trying to isolate Maute fighters while awaiting reinforcements that were being blocked by rebels.
Thirteen militants and seven security personnel have so far been killed and 33 troops wounded, the army said.
Mujiv Hataman, governor of the Autonomous Region in Mindanao said militants feed 107 prisoner's, among them Maute rebels.
While, National Union of People Lawyers, a group of human rights called the martial law state "a sledgehammer, knee-jerk reaction that would open the flood gates for unbridled human rights situation."
The have not yet explained how the raid on a apartment hideout went so terribly wrong. The operation was aimed at capturing Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group notorious for piracy, banditry and for kidnapping and decapitating Westerners. The Maute and Sayyaf have proved fierce for the military.
The armed forces said they were on top of the situation but residents who fled told a different story. "The city is still under the control of the armed group. They are all over the main roads and two bridges leading to Marawi," student Rabani Mautum told reporters in Pantar town, about 10km (10miles) away.
However, Bishops and cardinals urged Islamic leaders to persuade militants to free innocent hostages."We beg every Filipino to pray fervently," said Father Socrates Villagas, president of Bishaop Conference of the Philippines.
Power was also cut off in the city in the chaos.