World

Marawi rebels killing, enslaving civilians

MARAWI, PHILIPPINES: Militants holding parts of a Philippine city are killing civilians who try to flee while using others as orderlies and cooks, authorities said yesterday after the gunmen boasted of executions.

There are up to 1,000 people still trapped in parts of Marawi, the government said, three weeks after fighting erupted with gunmen going on a rampage and flying black flags of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Authorities estimated 400 gunmen are still there and using civilians as slaves.

"Based on the revelations of the trapped civilians we have (rescued), they are being used as orderlies to cook their food, to carry their munitions," military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-ar Herrera, told reporters.

Five of the civilians were killed on Monday as they made a dash for safety when the militants discovered their hiding place, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in Manila.

"They were going to the river but the militants ran after them and indiscriminately fired at them, killing five and taking the remaining eight as hostages," he said.

ISIS also released a video on Monday, via its Amaq propaganda news agency, that it said showed terrorists shooting six people in Marawi, said the US-based Site monitoring service.There were tearful scenes in Marawi yesterday morning after five Muslim policemen and five Christian construction workers sprinted about 2km from the militant-controlled areas to safety.

"As we were running, ISIS fired at us," said Marawi police officer Lumna Lidasan while sobbing.

He said the policemen could have left earlier because they were Muslim, but they feared for the construction workers.

Said Mr Lidasan: "They did not speak Maranao (the local dialect), so I knew they would have been slaughtered." - AFP

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