Efforts stepped up to rescue civilians
MARAWI The Philippine authorities said yesterday they were trying to negotiate a ceasefire in the southern city of Marawi and rescue up to 2,000 civilians trapped in areas held by Islamist militants nearly two weeks.
Government forces have bombarded Marawi with air strikes and waged fierce street battles with hundreds of gunmen since they began a rampage through residential areas waving the flags of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The authorities said yesterday they had negotiated a ceasefire with the militants to allow those trapped to be released, although continued fighting throughout the morning meant it was not put into place as hoped.
"There are 2,000 people who need immediate help (after) 13 days without food," Mr Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman for the provincial crisis management committee said.
"We do not know if the ceasefire has been breached," he said, adding that a sudden burst of gunfire and an explosion, as rescue teams were entering the city, had hampered the rescue efforts. - AFP