Moscow, Russia. The Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte cut short a state visit to Moscow, to return home and command a situation with Islamic terrorists on Mindanao Island, in which he has ordered a state of martial law declared today.
Duterte had to cut short his visit to Russia to deal with the violence.During his talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he also said the Philippines needed more modern weapons to fight ISIS terrorists and other militant groups.
President Rodrigo Duterte has said martial law on Mindanao island could last a year, while the army fights against Islamic terrorists.The violence on the southern island has left three members of the security forces dead, officials say.
President Duterte earlier declared martial law for 60 days on Mindanao, where Islamic terrorist groups are seeking autonomy.Some of the groups, such as the Maute, have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Martial law allows the use of the military to enforce order and the detention of people without charge for long periods.The Philippine constitution says a president can only declare martial law for 60 days to stop an invasion or a rebellion.
The Philippine Parliament can revoke the measure within 48 hours while the Supreme Court can also review its legality.This is only the second time martial law has been declared since the fall in 1986 of President Ferdinand Marcos.
The violence in Marawi, a city of about 200,000 people in Mindanao, erupted on Tuesday as the army searched for the leader of a terrorist group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS, the military spokesperson said.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana identified the militants as members of the ISIS Maute terrorist group. They had occupied a hospital and a jail, and burnt down buildings including a church, he added.Marawi is about 500 miles south of the Philippine capital Manila.