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ISIS ‘Using 100 Christians’, Including Priest, as Human Shields in Philippines

Military armored personel carriers maneuver as fighting between Islamist militants and government forces continues in Marawi City, Mindanao Island, southern Philippines, 07 June 2017. A civilian rescue worker, Abdul Azis Lomondot, told Reuters news agency there were body parts found on Wednesday, but there was “no proof of beheadings”.’All they do is just to kill and destroy, and killing in a most brutal way, ‘ he said at an event where he received hundreds of sniper and assault rifles donated by China to help the military campaign in Marawi.”The recovered cadavers are believed to be among those civilians who were helplessly murdered by the Maute/ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) terrorists”, said Brig. The retired general is assigned to coordinate efforts to free trapped civilians in Marawi City.Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there would be no deals with the Maute group militants holed up in Marawi City because that was against government policy, and anyone trying to bargain had no authority to do so.The president of the Philippines instructed the armed forces to open fire on the Islamic militants terrorizing the country regardless of whether or not civilians are present.The government said that 82,767 families of 403,052 people from Marawi and the nearby areas have been displaced in the ongoing war. The Philippines also said 268 of the fatalities were from the Maute, eight of whom were fighters from Malaysia, Indonesia, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.However, the death toll arising from these killings was not yet included in the official figure on civilians killed, which now stands at 27, he said. The military has failed to fulfill its previous deadlines on putting an end to the war, citing several factors affecting its operations, such as the terrorists taking refuge in places of worship, which government forces can not bomb.”There have been a significant number [of bodies] seen but again, we can not include many of these”, he said.While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte quickly declared martial law across the island for 60 days, some say the blame rests with the political leadership for ignoring the rise of the IS, and especially Mr. Duterte’s decision past year to reject a ceasefire offer from the Maute group.Herrera said there are still around 100 hostages and the women captives “were forced to marry the Maute local terrorist group, so they are being forced (to serve) as sex slaves”. “They were able to stockpile their arms”, he said.Padilla noted that there were still civilians, either trapped or held hostage, and clearing the tall buildings in the city center where the gunmen appear to be concentrated was a slow and unsafe process because of booby traps.The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, who have pledged allegiance to IS, carried out a nine-hour long attack on the town of Malagakit, robbing houses and stores at gunpoint, forcing hundreds of residents to flee.Mr. Padilla also said the military has yet to verify Mr. Duterte’s claim that a cousin of his living in Marrawi was also killed.