ASSISTED by US Special Forces, the Philippine military and police forces are looking to finally “liberating” Marawi City in Lanao del Sur today, from the grip of the Maute terror group and its confederates, which have engaged the government in bloody clashes since May 23, 2017, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to issue Proclamation 216, declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao. The military hopes to clear the city of its militants, who have killed civilians, taken hostages, desecrated and burnt churches, and hoisted the black flag of the Islamic State (IS) in various parts of Marawi to proclaim their kinship with the murderous Islamist group. After missing a couple of self-imposed deadlines, they appear confident of ending the siege today, the 119th anniversary of Philippine Independence. There are no published data on the Mautes’ combat strength. Sources who claim to know what’s happening suggest that various insurgent groups have contributed one company each to raise a composite force of 700 fighting men to challenge the government. This means at least 100 men each from the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Moro National Liberation Front (Lost Command), the Moro Islamic Liberation… Read full this story
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