Marawi Death Toll Now at 85 and still counting

Islamist militants kill 19 in Marawi — Army

Islamist militants locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city have killed 19 civilians, the military said Sunday, bringing the official death toll from nearly a week of fighting to at least 85.

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 Syria (ISIS) group.

Authorities said the militants had killed 19 civilians in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people. These included three women and a child who were found dead near a university.

“These are civilians, women. These terrorists are anti-people. We found their bodies while conducting rescue operations (on Saturday),” regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told AFP.

An AFP photographer saw another eight bodies by a road in the outskirts of Marawi on Sunday, with local residents identifying them as employees of a rice mill and a medical college. However, a woman said they were employees at her bakery.

Herrera said the military had yet to investigate the reported deaths.

The violence began when dozens of gunmen went on a rampage throughout Marawi after security forces attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino militant regarded as the local leader of ISIS.

The gunmen planted black IS flags, took a priest and up to 14 other people hostage from a church, and set fire to buildings.

Thirteen soldiers, two policemen and 51 militants have died in the fighting, according to authorities. This brings the combined official death toll to at least 85.

Most of the city’s residents have fled because of the fighting, which has seen the military heavily bomb residential areas where the militants were believed to be hiding.

The military announced on Saturday, the start of the holy month of Ramadan, that it would intensify the bombing campaign.

“In as much as we would like to avoid collateral damage, these rebels are forcing the hand of government by hiding and holding out inside private homes, government buildings and other facilities,” military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said.

“Their refusal to surrender is holding the city captive. 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.”

Duterte and military chiefs have said most of the militants belong to the local Maute group, which they estimate has about 260 armed followers and has declared allegiance to IS.

But Duterte has said local criminals are backing the Maute in Marawi. CBB/rga

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Agence France-Presse May 28, 2017

marawi air strike

PHOTO: Smoke rises following airstrikes by Philippine Air Force to retake control of Marawi city, southern Philippines Saturday, May 27, 2017. Philippine military jets fired rockets at militant positions Saturday as soldiers fought to wrest control of a southern city from gunmen linked to the Islamic State group, witnesses said. Civilians waved flags from their windows to show they are not combatants. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

 

6 foreigners (from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore) among terrorists killed in Marawi

But the military insists this ‘does not confirm the clear presence of ISIS’ in the Philippines

Marawi clash

PHOTO: MILITARY OPERATIONS. Army scout rangers conduct clearing operations to flush out members of the Maute Group occupying the city. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine government on Friday, May 26, said foreigners were among the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group members fighting government troops in Marawi City.

“Malaysian, Indonesians from Singapore and other foreign jihadists,” said Solicitor General Jose Calida in a press conference with Palace officials and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Davao City.

Calida, in explaining why President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law over the entire Mindanao island region, said: “What’s happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens. It has transmogrified into invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of the ISIS to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq or Syria.”

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, who was also at the press conference, confirmed that of the 31 alleged Maute Group members killed in clashes with government troops, 6 had been identified as foreigners.

Martial law was declared over Mindanao on May 23, following what the military said was a surgical strike against Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is believed to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Critics said the clashes in Marawi did not merit a Mindanao-wide coverage of martial law and that President Rodrigo Duterte is merely using the conflict as basis for imposing tougher measures and silencing dissent.

On May 23, at least 3 fires broke out in Marawi City. Residents have since fled the city as government troops continue to hold clearing operations.

Padilla would only confirm the presence of Indonesian and Malaysian fighters and refused to say how many of each nationality were identified as those killed in Marawi.

The AFP spokesman said the foreign nationals had been residing in the Philippines for “a long time.” “Some have been helping, teaching, aiding, and connecting [local terror groups],” he added.

But no ISIS?

Still, Padilla said that this does not equate to ISIS presence in the country. “Again, on the matter of ISIS the President emphasized that there’s ISIS footprint but that does not confirm the clear presence of ISIS itself yet,” he told media in a chance interview.

But a terrorism expert warned the government against downplaying ISIS presence in the Philippines. The country is now the ISIS’ epicenter in Southeast Asia, Rohan Gunaratna told Rappler.

Members of the Maute Group, while breakaway elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), “are no longer Mautes” and “are no longer MILF,” Gunaratna explained. “They are IS, because they are operating like IS, and they have changed the name,” he said. “So we have to name them by the group they call themselves.” – Rappler.com

 Bea Cupin @beacupin
 May 26, 2017
#Maute #Duterte #Marawi
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Marawi Siege Death Toll to date

Thirteen government troops were killed since the gun battle started on Tuesday afternoon. Six soldiers were killed in fresh clashes Thursday, bringing the death toll among soldiers at 11, the Western Mindanao Command said.

Two policemen were killed.

Meanwhile, 18 members of the Maute group were killed in fresh gun battle as government troops cleared two bridges heading towards Bangulo. This brings the fatalities on the terrorist groups to 31.

Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian terrorists among those killed in Marawi

MANILA – (UPDATED) Foreign terrorists were among those killed in the ongoing siege in Marawi City, an official said.

Padilla said at least 31 from the terrorist group have been killed so far, and some of those slain were Malaysians, Singaporeans, and Indonesians, Armed Forces spokesperson Restituto Padilla said.

marawi govt troops

PHOTO: Government troops are seen during an assault on insurgents from the so-called Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, Thursday. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

“There are certain foreign elements aiding these terrorists in skills related to terrorism, primarily bomb-making,” Padilla said in a press briefing.

The government deployed attack helicopters and special forces to drive gunmen out of the besieged southern city.

“Up to this moment operations are ongoing. There are still firefights between our forces and those of the terrorists and the objective of armed forces is to clear the city,” Padilla added.

Padilla said efforts to rescue stranded residents remain, as he assured locals that military was only conducting “surgical air strikes” to avoid civilian deaths and damage to property.

MINDANAO AS ‘CALIPHATE’

Indonesians and Malaysians were among foreign Jihadists fighting the Philippine army in Mindanao island, the solicitor-general claimed, in a rare admission that outsiders were collaborating with domestic Islamist groups.

“Before it was just a local terrorist group. But now they have subscribed to the ideology of ISIS (Islamic State),” Solicitor General Jose Calida told a news conference.

“They want to make Mindanao part of the caliphate,” he claimed.

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.

“People they consider as infidels, whether Christians or Muslims, are also targets of opportunity,” he said.

“What it worrisome is that the ISIS has radicalized a number of Filipino Muslim youth.”

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte placed all of Mindanao under martial law after government troops clashed with terrorist group Maute.

Troops were pursuing bandits from Maute group while on a mission to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the suspected leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, when the terror group took hostages.

US offers $5 million for any information that will lead to Hapilon’s arrest.

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

May 26 2017 

#Marawi #Duterte

Marawi combat casualties now at 44

Share Share Share – Breaking News: Like Like Like —–>>>>> @Duterte https://www.facebook.com/MetroManilaKilusangPagbabago/  ***** 44 na po ang naitatalang NAMATAY sa bakbakan ng pamahalaan at ang naghahasik ng lagim sa Marawi. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas. Point and Click to Link or Photo to READ FULL STORY. https://balitangbalita.com/2017/05/26/44-afp-pnp-and-extremists-killed-in-marawi-clashes/ #Duterte #SupportMarawi #Marawimarawi nmr

44 AFP, PNP and extremists killed in Marawi clashes

At least 44 have been killed in the ongoing fighting in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said late Thursday night.

2017 marawi checkpoint

PHOTO: Male residents are frisked by police at a checkpoint as they leave Marawi city in southern Philippines Thursday, May 25, 2017. Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into the southern Philippine city Thursday to try to restore control after ISIS-linked militants launched a violent siege that sent thousands of people fleeing for their lives and raised fears of extremists gaining traction in the country. AP

Thirteen government troops were killed since the gun battle started on Tuesday afternoon. Six soldiers were killed in fresh clashes Thursday, bringing the death toll among soldiers at 11, the Western Mindanao Command said.

Two policemen were killed.

Meanwhile, 18 members of the Maute group were killed in fresh gun battle as government troops cleared two bridges heading towards Bangulo. This brings the fatalities on the terrorist groups to 31.

“As of this report, 31 terrorists were already neutralized and 6 high-powered firearms were recovered by the troops,” said Army’s First Infantry Division commander Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista.

“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in the areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorists’ presence,” he added.

In a press briefing earlier, the military said they have also launched ‘precise’ air strikes to go after the remaining 30 to 40 members of the Maute group.

They have also deployed army tanks, special operations forces, as well as attack helicopters, to retake the predominantly Muslim city.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao a few hours after the fighting erupted on Tuesday. IDL

By: Frances Mangosing – Reporter / @FMangosingINQ
INQUIRER.net  May 26, 2017

 

 

Kadamay, Piston, Bayan, Kabataan and Gabriela gather to show solidarity for Marawi City residents

marawi nmr

May 24, 2017 

 

Civil society groups and vendors in Cagayan de Oro City and in Manila on Wednesday staged a rally to show their support for Marawi City residents.

Martial law was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte after the Maute terrorist group led a siege of Marawi City that resulted to several reported killings and burned buildings.

The groups, including Kadamay, Piston, Bayan, Kabataan, and Vendors’ Association gathered at the Cogon market in Cagayan de Oro to light candles and opposed the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

A similar activity was held in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.

The participants also condemned the terrorist group Maute for killing civilians and burning an Aglipayan school and the Marawi City jail. — BAP, GMA News

marawi gab

 

 

House committee junks Duterte impeachment complaint for insufficiency in substance

rappler duterte impeachment

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After roughly 4 hours of debates and one closed-door session, the House justice committee voted to reject the impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte.

The committee members said during the hearing on Monday, May 15, that the impeachment complaint filed by opposition lawmaker and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano was sufficient in form but insufficient in substance.

Out of the 50 members of the House justice committee, 42 were present during Monday’s hearing. The voting was as follows:

  • 41 voted the complaint was sufficient in form (only ABS Representative Eugene de Vera voted it was insufficient in form)
  • all 42 voted the complaint was insufficient in substance

This, in effect, means the first impeachment complaint filed against the President has been dismissed by the committee.

Alejano wants Duterte impeached for his alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad, the ongoing bloody war against drugs, Duterte’s supposed unexplained wealth, the “ghost” employees hired by the Davao City government when he was mayor, and the President’s approach to the sea row with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and Benham Rise.

But during the hearing, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas grilled Alejano in a long interpellation about the complainant’s personal knowledge of the accusations he made against the President.

The Majority Leader based his questioning on Alejano’s verification of the impeachment complaint, which reads: “I/We hereby confirm and affirm that the material allegations made therein are true and correct of my/our own personal knowledge and as culled from authentic records.”

Alejano conceded he did not personally see the murders mentioned in the complaint and he does not have personal information on Duterte’s financial transactions. But he argued that he based his accusations against Duterte on authentic records.

“I have no personal knowledge as a witness but I have personal knowledge as a complainant based on the records,” said Alejano, an ex-soldier and former coup plotter.

Alejano also rejected Fariñas’ argument that he is merely riding on the propaganda that extrajudicial killings are being done in the name of Duterte’s drug war.

“So kung propaganda ang issue ng mga patayan ngayon, hindi pala seryoso itong issue ng patayan na libo-libo na. So kung tingin nila ay issue lang ito na ‘di importante, then we deserve the kind of policies and the President that we have right now,” said Alejano in a chance interview while the closed-door session was ongoing.

(So if the news of killings right now are just propaganda, does that mean it isn’t a serious matter that thousands of Filipinos have already died? So if they think this issue is not important, then we deserve the kind of policies and the President that we have right now.)

“So sino ang tatayo sa mga mahihirap na biktima na hindi kayang depensahan ang sarili [nila]? it should be the Congress, the representative of the people,” he added.

(So who would stand up for the rights of the poor victims who are unable to defend themselves? It should be the Congress, the representative of the people.)

Duterte enjoys a strong legislative shield in the House, where he counts at least 267 out of 293 lawmakers as his allies.

A total of 121 lawmakers are also members of the President’s party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo Umali, justice committee chairman, is also a PDP-Laban member. – Rappler.com