Philippines army battles IS-linked group in southern city

DW – May 26, 2017

Philippines troops backed by tanks and helicopters battled on Friday to retake Marawi, the southern city of 200,000 people which was overrun by militants linked to the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) earlier this week. Tens of thousands of residents have fled the city.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on the militants to abandon hostilities and start a dialogue. “My message mainly to the terrorists on the other side is we can still solve this through dialogue,” Duterte said on Friday. “And if you cannot be convinced to stop fighting, so be it. Let’s just fight.”

Military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla told reporters on Friday that the press and social media would be controlled “One, to ensure the safety of lives, second to ensure operational security and ensure the safety of our men in uniform who are fighting, and for other national security considerations,” he said.