The Battle of Marawi - the events that led to war

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The Battle of Marawi - the events that led to war
Getting the facts to explain what's going on in Marawi City.

The Battle of Marawi, is an ongoing armed conflict in Marawi, Lanao del Sur between Philippine government security forces and militants of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Islamic jihadist supremacist groups that started on 23 May 2017.

The Philippine government claims that the clashes began when they launched an offensive in the city to capture Isnilon Hapilon of the Abu Sayyaf group, after receiving reports that Hapilon was in the city, possibly to meet with militants of the Maute group. A deadly firefight erupted when Hapilon's forces opened fire at the combined Army and police teams and called for reinforcements from the Maute, an armed group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and who are believed to be responsible for the 2016 Davao City bombing, according to military spokesmen.

Maute Group militants attacked Camp Ranao and occupied several buildings in the city, including Marawi City Hall, the Mindanao State University, a hospital and the city jail. The group also occupied the main street and set fire to Saint Mary's Church, Ninoy Aquino School, and Dansalan College run by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).


Who is the Maute Group?

The Maute group, also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, is a radical Islamist group composed of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas and some foreign fighters led by Abdullah Maute, the alleged founder of a Dawlah Islamiya, or Islamic state based in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines. The group figured in a clash with Philippine Army troops in February 2016 that ended with the capture of their headquarters in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

The group is thought to have over 100 members and were supplied with equipment by a foreign terrorist. They are said to be affiliated with Jemaah Islamiya, a Southeast Asian Islamist terrorist group.

The Maute group is regularly seen carrying black flags bearing the insignia of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Training manuals and other documents for militants under the Islamic State were recovered from their captured camp, indicating that the group may be trying to link up with ISIS.


The Marawi Siege

Firefights between government forces and militants began at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon of May 23, 2017. News reports said that the clash occurred in the Basak Malutlut area of the city as Hapilon's forces called for reinforcement from the Maute group. Maute fighters occupied the Amai Pakpak Hospital and ordered the PhilHealth employees out of the facility. The fighters allegedly replaced the Philippine flag hoisted in the hospital with the Black Standard used by the Islamic State group. A staff member of the hospital has later denied that this happened.

The 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Ranao was attacked by at least 500 Maute group militants. A number of militants were then seen waving their ISIS black flags as they roamed the streets of Marawi.

The whole city was put on lockdown as several buildings and houses were set ablaze by members of the Maute group. Dozens of gunmen occupied the Marawi City Hall as 107 inmates escaped from the Marawi City Jail and the Malabang District Jail 39 after the Maute attacks. Power and communication lines were also shut down due to the continued hostilities. Roads leading to Marawi were blocked by both government security forces and Maute militants.

Civilians were reported to have been abducted by the Maute group, including a priest and several parishioners of the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians as the group demanded that the government stop its offensive against them.

The clashes sparked a mass evacuation of the city with residents fleeing by the thousands, causing traffic congestion on the highway to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. At least eleven civilians have been killed in the ongoing firefight, two of which the Lanao del Sur Provincial Disaster Office identified as ambulance drivers who were stopped by Maute militants while responding to an emergency call. Nine of those civilians were on board a truck when they were stopped by Maute militants at a checkpoint and shot dead with their hands tied. A police officer was also reported to have been murdered by the militants.


May 24
Additional government forces arrived at the Laguindingan Airport as the military regained control of the Amai Pakpak Hospital. 120 civilians used as a human shield by the Maute group were rescued from the hospital. Government troops also rescued Wednesday at least 42 teachers who were trapped inside a building during an attack by Maute terrorists. The Philippine military has also recaptured the city hall and the Mindanao State University.

May 25
Fresh fighting took place near the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol in the Marawi city center. Black-clad Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants were still spotted in the city's major roads and bridges. The militants also reportedly took control of the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative in Gadungan village. The AFP said there were still 30 to 40 remaining members of the Maute group in the city and that Isnilon Hapilon remained in Marawi. The Philippine military launched surgical air strikes in three villages where remnants of the group have been spotted.

Reports came in that two Malaysian terrorists who were with Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi to push for the creation of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia were among those militants killed late Thursday. Intelligence sources also said that an Indonesian and a Saudi Arabian linked to ISIS were also killed in skirmishes in the city. The AFP said that 26 members of the Maute group have been killed, leaving the remaining terrorists in the area at around 25. Herrera also said 39 members of the government forces have been wounded in action.

May 26
At a press briefing in Davao City, AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla confirmed that foreign terrorists are fighting alongside the Maute group in Marawi. He said that of the 12 members of the Maute group killed during the latest firefight, half of them were foreigners. Padilla identified the foreign militants as Malaysians, Indonesian, Singaporean and another nationality.


Martial Law

Following the clash, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao (Proclamation No. 216) at 10:00 in the evening of 23 May 2017. As per the 1987 Constitution, the state of martial law will initially last for 60 days. President Duterte also decided to shorten his diplomatic visit to Russia. (Source: Wikipedia)


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