Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Police chief beheaded and others killed by IS militants in Philippines

A police chief has been beheaded and at least 20 other people have been killed by Islamic militants who rampaged through a city in the southern Philippines.
Around 100 heavily armed gunmen linked to Islamic State swept into Marawi City, on the island of Mindanao, burning buildings, seizing a Catholic priest and his worshippers and raising the black flag of IS.

In response, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte says he is considering extending martial law, currently in place across the southern third of the nation, to the whole of the country.

The extremists' attack followed an army raid on the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who has pledged allegiance to IS, on Tuesday.

Five soldiers were killed and 31 wounded in the fierce clashes that followed, according to spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo, who said 13 militants had been killed.

Other officials said a security guard and two police officers were also killed, including the police chief, whom militants beheaded at a checkpoint.

Colonel Arevalo said troops had cleared militants from the city hall, university and a hospital, where around 120 people were rescued.

President Duterte cut short a trip to Moscow and flew back to Manila, where he declared 60 days of martial law in the entire Mindanao region, home to 22 million people.

Vowing to be "harsh", he said: "We are in a state of emergency... if you fight us, you will die. If there is open defiance, you will die. And if it means many people dying, so be it."

He said law-abiding citizens had nothing to fear.

Thousands of people have fled Marawi, leading a local official to describe it as like "a ghost town".

SKY    News.