16 civilians killed in rampage in Marawi City
MARAWI CITY: Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside this besieged Philippine city yesterday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels resisting a military onslaught took a more sinister turn.
The eight dead men, most of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were labourers who were stopped by Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts here while trying to flee clashes, according to police.
Nine bullet casings were found on a blood-stained patch of road at the top of the ravine. Attached to one of the bodies was a sign that said “Munafik” (hypocrite).
The discovery confirmed days of speculation that Maute rebels had killed civilians during a bloody takeover here that the military believed was aimed at winning the Maute recognition from IS in the Middle East as a Southeast Asian affiliate.
Troops also found the bodies of eight civilians in the streets, including a group of four men, three women and a child.
The army deployed additional ground troops over the weekend and despatched helicopters to carry out rocket strikes on Maute positions as fighters held buildings and a bridge deep inside a predominantly Muslim city where few civilians remained.
At least 61 militants, 11 soldiers and four policemen were killed, according to the army.
The overall death toll was 92. The fierce resistance of the Maute gunmen and the apparent executions of civilians will add to growing fears that subscribers to IS’ radical ideology are determined to establish a presence in southern Philippines, with support of extremists from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Marawi police officer Jamail C. Mangadang said the eight men found dead were carpenters who were part of an evacuation convoy stopped by rebels on Saturday.
Recalling information provided by their manager, Mangadang said the victims were pulled off a