Hundreds remain trapped in Marawi

2017-06-04 20:13
Philippine marines patrol a deserted area on their way to Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao. (Noel Celis, AFP)

Philippine marines patrol a deserted area on their way to Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao. (Noel Celis, AFP)

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Manila - Hundreds of civilians hoping to flee fighting in the besieged Philippines city of Marawi remained trapped on Sunday after a four-hour ceasefire to evacuate residents was marred by gunfire.

Authorities said they had finally been able to negotiate a truce with fighters linked to ISIS, but continued clashes throughout Sunday meant it was not put into place as expected.

At least 134 people are believed to have been rescued.

President Rodrigo Duterte had asked the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a separatist movement based on the island of Mindanao, to help negotiate a peace settlement with the fighters, who are predominantly drawn from the Maute group based in and around Marawi.

Maute is named after its leaders, the Maute brothers, who are  cousins of the second wife of Alim Abdulaziz Mimbantas, a MILF leader. The government signed a peace deal with the MILF in 2014.

The battle for Marawi, a city on Mindanao island, began almost two weeks ago and prompted Duterte to declare martian law in the southern region. 

Authorities lifted the civilian death toll from 20 to 38 on Sunday - but said all those deaths were caused by the separatist fighters.

A presidential spokesperson said 120 fighters had died, along with 38 government forces.

Read more on:    isis  |  milf  |  rodrigo duterte  |  philippines  |  security

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