‘Traitors’ executed in Marawi

Executed civilians have reportedly been found in a ravine outside the besieged Philippine city of Marawi amid ongoing battles with a terror group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

The eight dead men, most of them shot in the head and some with their hands tied behind their backs, were apparently carpenters who were stopped while trying to leave the city, according to police.

Attached to one of the bodies was a sign reading “Munafik” (traitor).

Marawi police officer Jamail Mangadang told Reuters that the eight men found dead were pulled off a truck because they were unable to quote from the Koran.

The Maute militants started the takeover of Marawi after President Rodrigo Duterte sent forces to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, who had publicly pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State.

Hapilon is listed as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists with Washington offering a bounty of US$5 million for his head.

Duterte cancelled his planned visit to Japan. The 72-year-old said: “My order to the troops is all people who are not authorised by government to carry arms and they resist, kill them, wipe them out.”

In response to the initial raid, the group set fire to buildings and took hold of a school, hospital and the city’s cathedral on Tuesday.

“Their refusal to surrender is holding the city captive. Hence, it is now increasingly becoming necessary to use more surgical airstrikes to clear the city and to bring this rebellion to a quicker end,” said spokesman Brigadier Restituto Padilla.

He denied that unmarked security personnel were setting up roadblocks in the area.

“Checkpoints follow strict protocols and are strictly complied with. These reports if true, may be of unauthorised armed elements and should be discretely documented and reported. We have issued orders to our forces to ascertain these reports and deal with it,” Padilla said.

Guns and weapon permits were all outlawed on Sunday on Mindanao, the second-biggest Philippine island, which is home to 22 million people.

The Philippine military says the Maute group wants to win recognition from Isis as an Asean affiliate.

Manila has sent in reinforcements and helicopters are carrying out rocket strikes on Maute militants who hold buildings and a bridge inside the largely Muslim city.

The authorities claim at least 41 insurgents were killed and 13 troops had been killed by Saturday.

Some of the extremists came from Indonesia and Malaysia, the military said.

Picture credit: YouTube