Philippine marines walk to the frontline in their continuing assault to retake control of some areas of Marawi city.
Philippine marines walk to the frontline in their continuing assault to retake control of some areas of Marawi city. Bullit Marquez

40,000 flee IS in the Philippines

MORE than 40,000 people have fled Marawi City, 800km south of Manila in the southern Philippines, to escape fighting between Islamic State supporters and government forces.

As a result more than 30,000 people are staying in evacuation centres and 12,000 with relatives outside the city, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Sunday.

They have fled because of the military's heavy bombing of residential areas where the terrorists are believed to be hiding.

The military launched more air strikes on Sunday aiming to drive out terrorists after days of fighting left dozens of corpses in the streets and hundreds of civilians begging to be rescued. Troops have tightened security in nearby areas amid fears the gunmen are attempting to create terror in nearby towns.

The army ordered a lockdown in the nearby city of Iligan where most of the evacuees were headed, Colonel Alex Aduca said.

"They (militants) are trying to withdraw and those who can leave might attempt to enter Iligan by disguising themselves as evacuees,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

With 200,000 residents in Marawi City, the crisis has grown worse as Maute terrorists fight back harder than expected and hold off the Army and soldiers searching houses for gunmen.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared 60 days of martial law on all of the island of Mindanao, where a Moro separatist rebellion has raged for decades.

But the recent violence has raised fears that extremism is growing as smaller groups such as Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group unify and align themselves with IS.

The violence erupted last Tuesday last week when government foces attempted to capture Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader with a $6.7 million bounty placed on him by the US government.

The violence has left at least 100 people dead, including 61 militants, 20 government troops and 19 civilians, the military says.



Urgent plea to help find 'the child Australia forgot'

Urgent plea to help find 'the child Australia forgot'

Wanted man has slipped through the hands of police at least 3 times

From office errand boy to leading Queensland lawyer

premium_icon From office errand boy to leading Queensland lawyer

Tributes for a respected member of Queensland's legal industry

Local Partners