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Civilians flee Marawi as Philippines troops battle ISIL-linked fighters


Philippines

Civilians flee Marawi as Philippines troops battle ISIL-linked fighters

Residents have been fleeing a city in the southern Philippines amid fighting between government troops and rebels linked to the so-called Islamic State.

Marawi City has been besieged and under attack since a failed raid by security forces on the hideout of one group. Amid increasing violence and chaos, hundreds of people have been leaving to find safety elsewhere.

Nearly 50 people – at least 30 rebels and almost a dozen soldiers – have reportedly been killed since the fighting kicked off on Tuesday.

It followed President Dutarte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the Philippines’ second-largest island, to stop the spread of ISIL-linked radicalism.

The authorities have warned that foreigners – it’s thought including Indonesians and Malaysians – have joined the insurgency. ISIL flags are said to have been raised in several places.

Appeals have gone out on social media to save the local population under the hashtag #PrayForMarawi.