PHILIPPINES – Government forces declare victory over IS and recapture Marawi


Date:  October 27, 2017

The Philippines government has declared victory over pro-Islamic State (IS) militants after a five-month siege to recapture Marawi city. Government forces working with former enemies, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, flushed out fighters entrenched in the southern city. Martial law remains in force in Marawi and the rest of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Fighting has left 1,000 dead and 600,000 displaced. The historic city has been devastated, leaving many buildings gutted and reduced to rubble.

The conflict began when officials tried to serve an arrest warrant in May on Isnilon Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute, commanders in the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups. The groups joined forces and seized Marawi, recruiting foreign fighters from Malaysia and Indonesia. Hapilon subsequently declared his allegiance to IS.

Marawi city was attacked by Islamist militants in May
Marawi city was attacked by Islamist militants in May
CC BY-SA 4.0 by Mark Jhomel

Christians in the city spared by the jihadists were taken hostage, forced to build bombs, and scavenge for food and weapons for the Islamist rebels. 

ARMM is the only Muslim majority region in the predominantly Christian Philippines. Islamist groups there have been fighting for independence and for sharia law to be established.

From Al Jazeera here

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