Philippine Military Urges Militants to Surrender

Philippine Military Urges Militants to SurrenderPhilippine Military Urges Militants to Surrender

The Philippine military is urging militants occupying a southern city to turn themselves in, as the brutal conflict that has left over 100 people dead enters its eighth day.

The government says it is close to retaking Marawi City from the Maute group linked with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which seized parts of the city after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the militants’ so-called leader of Southeast Asia, ABC reported.

“We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity,” Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said.

As helicopters circled the lakeside city where smoke billowed out of some buildings, troops cleared rebel positions amid explosions and automatic gunfire, moving house by house and street by street.

More than 100 people have been killed, most of them militants, according to the military, and most of the city’s residents have fled.

But bodies of executed civilians with signs attached reading “Munafik” (traitor) have also recently been reported among the dead.

A Catholic priest held captive by the militants along with other Christians appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to consider their plight and stop the military operation.

Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, vicar general of Marawi City, and the others were abducted in a cathedral last week; the priest said he was among 200 captives, including children.

“We are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for,” the priest said on a video clip shown by the IS.

“We still want to live for another day, a month and a few years, please consider us Mr. President.”

General Padilla said the military was aware of the video but said he was confident the militants would not harm the priest because they wanted to use him to gain concessions.

“This is pure propaganda. The Maute group is using this to stop our clearing operations,” he said.

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