Eight civilians have been found executed in a ravine near the southern city of Marawi in the Philippines, which has been taken over by Islamic militants.
The men were being evacuated when their convoy was stopped by the ISIS-connected group. They were tied up and killed when they failed to recite parts of the Quran, says Marawi police officer Jamail C. Mangadang. A sign with the words “traitor” written on it was found next to the presumably Muslim victims, who were shot in the head.
The eight men were shot in the head, and their discovery confirms that the militants are killing civilians. They also beheaded the police chief, released inmates from prisons, took Christians as hostages, set fire to schools and churches and raised the ISIS flag over government buildings. There may also be other civilian slaughters. “We are still validating other reports of atrocities,” said military spokesman Restituto Padilla.
According to the Daily Caller:
An intense battle is being waged in Marawi and has been for six days. The fighting began Tuesday when government security forces attempted to bring down Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is a high-profile terrorist target believed to have direct ties to ISIS. The raid quickly evolved into a major firefight as Hapilon’s forces called for reinforcements from the Maute Group, another ISIS-linked insurgency operating in the area.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for Maute’s siege, declaring the town the “Islamic City of Marawi.” Government officials claim they have received over 2,000 distress calls from civilians trapped in militant-controlled areas. Tens of thousands of residents have fled the city to escape the destruction.
Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the southern Philippines and has deployed significant military power into crushing the ISIS forces. Tanks and assault vehicles have been sent in so far, with air strikes being made against militant strongholds.