16 civil­ians killed in ram­page in Marawi City

New Straits Times - - World -

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

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