Militants kill 16 civilians in Philippines siege city

After receiving intelligence reports that Hapilon was hiding in Marawi city, security forces went to arrest him on Tuesday but were taken by surprise when they met massive resistance from Maute gunmen protecting him. "O$3 fficials said there were foreign fighters among the militants killed so far".

The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law on Tuesday across the southern third of the Philippines to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat of "militants" linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Nine spent bullet casings were found on a blood-stained patch of road at the top of the ravine.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the two Malaysians who were killed in Southern Philippines did not possess true Islamic education.

Residents who had fled the city told journalists the militants separated Christians and Muslims by those who could recite the prayers and took away those who could not.

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

Extremists allied with Islamic State are believed to have executed Filipinos in a besieged southern city of the Philippines because they could not cite Islamic prayers, as the death toll from six days of fighting rose to 100, with dozens wounded.

The army deployed more ground troops over the weekend and dispatched army and air force helicopters to carry out rocket strikes on Maute positions as fighters held buildings and a bridge deep inside a predominantly Muslim city where few civilians remained. "Hence, it is now increasingly becoming necessary to use more surgical air strikes to clear the city and to bring this rebellion to a quicker end".

At a press briefing last week, Philippines Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said there were foreigners who had "long been in the country aiding in the terrorist activities".

The siege of Marawi by IS fighters forced President Rodrigo Duterte to cut short his four-day visit to Russian Federation last week.

"He gave his full support to the men and women in uniform, taking complete responsibility for their actions, even exaggeratedly describing crimes like taking a fourth wife", Mr Abella said, while ignoring Mr Duterte's preceding rape remark.

Mr Corr, whose company, Corr Analytics, provides political risk analysis to commercial, non-profit and media, said Duterte had several other options available to deal with the militants who were nowhere near as powerful as Duterte made out. He caused outrage in the lead-up to his presidential election win previous year when he recalled a 1989 prison riot in which inmates had lined up to rape an Australian missionary, who was then killed.

Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch said the president's comment was "a sickening attempt at humour" that sent soldiers a signal they could commit rights abuses while enforcing martial law. "I will not listen to others", he said. "One of their (Maute) founding leaders Omar Khayam is married to a woman from Indonesia, whom he met while he was studying in Egypt", the official said.

Duterte is unapologetic about his manner of speech and liberally peppers casual statements with profanities.

"As Duterte insults U.S. presidents Obama and Trump, he openly embraces China and Russian Federation".

  • Leroy Wright