Philippines army battles IS-linked group in southern city

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As of early morning May 25, nothing had been heard of the whereabouts of the priest and the prelature's staff and some churchgoers who were taken captive.

"The Filipino people do not want to return to that period of time, which is marked by gross, gross human right violations of torture, abduction, militarization, forced evacuation against civilians", she said.

A Catholic priest has been taken hostage by ISIS in Marawi cathedral.

Military leaders say the Maute's motivation for taking the city was to raise its profile and earn recognition from Islamic State.

Thousands of residents have already fled the city and sought shelter in nearby towns and cities. "Otherwise, they will kill the hostages", Bishop ‎la Peña said. May the loving God protect the people of Marawi'.

Sending solidarity and prayers from the Archdiocese of Manila, the cardinal asked why anyone would hurt their neighbor. "We cry for you, for all Filipinos and everyone in the world, as many lives are ruined because of this violence".

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"He was not a combatant". He was a threat to none. His capture and that of his companions violates every norm of civilised conflict'.

Solicitor general Calida said the Maute group and Islamic State had a dream to create their own "ISIS province" in Mindanao and the government was not the only target of their aggression.

But the NDFP countered by saying it was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself who cited NPA as one of the of the government's "problems" for placing the entire Mindanao under military rule when the skirmishes happened only in Marawi City between military and local terrorist Maute Group. At least two policemen were also reported killed.

Philippine authorities refuse to release the number of casualties and fatalities as "clearing operations" continued.

According to the country's current constitution, the martial law can be applied for a maximum period of 60 days, after which the Congress decides if an extension is required.

According to Elloring, one of those groups is the New People's Army (NPA), part of the National Democratic Front (NDF), which is now in the process of peace negotiations with the Duterte administration. 'I have to do it to preserve the republic'.

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Herrera said troops and special police personnel were deployed after villagers notified the military of the presence of the militants.

He declared martial law in 1972 and used it to maintain his grip on power for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, Cenen said the meeting was motivated by the need to address the prevailing situation and martial law implemented in Mindanao.

The Muslim religious leader told that "innocent people might be caught in the crossfire or might be arrested illegally by mere suspicion".

"Given the above clear and present dangers and atrocities happening in Mindanao, it is the President's constitutional duty to unsheathe the Republic's sword of martial law to crush the rebellion that threatens to divide our country", Calida said.

Catholics in the Philippine capital have attended a Mass for people in the southern region now under martial law and in Marawi.

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Majul Gandamra, the mayor of Marawi, said many establishments were closed, making it hard for those who are still in the municipality to purchase supplies.