Manila, Philippines. The death toll in recent islamic attacks in the Philippines is over 85 souls, as President Rodrigo Duterte tries to get an Islamic insurrection under control fast.
Islamic terrorists are locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city that have killed 19 civilians, the military said Sunday, bringing the official death toll from nearly a week of fighting to at least 85.
An Agence France-Presse photographer saw another eight bodies by a road in the outskirts of Marawi on Sunday, with local residents identifying them as employees of a rice mill and a medical college.
The out of control violence prompted the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to declare martial law on Tuesday across the southern third of the Philippines to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat of militants linked to the Islamic State terrorist group.
“These are civilians, women. These terrorists are anti-people. We found their bodies while conducting rescue operations,” regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Joar Herrera said.
Philippine authorities said the terrorists had killed 19 civilians in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people. These included three women and a child who were found dead near a university yesterday.
The fighting between terrorists linked to ISIS and government forces began after an attempt to arrest a veteran Filipino terrorist. The quick escaltion, forced the early return of President Duterte from Moscow, where he was meeting with Vladimir Putin.
The violence began when dozens of gunmen went on a rampage throughout Marawi after security forces attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino terrorist regarded as the local leader of ISIS.
The terrorists planted black ISIS flags, took a priest and up to 14 other people hostage from a church, and set fire to buildings. Thirteen soldiers, two policemen and 51 terrorists have died in the fighting, according to authorities. This brings the combined official death toll to at least 85, with no end to the fighting in sight.