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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, October 21, 2018


Residents being held hostage by Islamist terrorists in the Philippines forced into sex slavery, asked to loot abandoned houses

Military is engaged in fighting Islamist militants

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MARAWI, Philippines - The Philippine Military that is engaged in fighting Islamist militants who have besieged the city of Marawi have made some shocking revelations about the state of affairs there.
According to Manila's military, Maute militants were pushing captives to loot abandoned houses in the region and were forcing female captives into sex slavery in Marawi.
Manila's army said that male and female captives were made to assist the militants in their fight against the Filipino military.
In May this year, Marawi city in the Mindanao island turned into a centre of conflict following which, the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the southern part of the country.
The military further warned that the number of residents killed by rebel "atrocities" could rise sharply as troops retake more ground.
During their operation, military personnel are said to have found five decapitated civilians in the occupied city.
A total of 17 bodies were recovered and officials said these would be the first evidence that civilians trapped in besieged Marawi City have been decapitated during the five-week stand by militants loyal to the Islamic State group, as some who escaped the city have previously reported.
The military is hoping to fully rid the island of militants belonging to the Maute group in the coming days - but are faced by a stiff resistance from the ISIS-inspired extremists.
Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told reporters on Wednesday, "Worst thing [is] there are cases of female hostages forced to marry the Maute local terrorist group. They are being forced to [be a] sex slave, forced to destroy the dignity of these women.”
Herrera said hostages that either escaped or were rescued reported that women suffered brutal sexual assaults at the hands of the Maute captors and that captives were also tasked with plundering abandoned houses in the conflict-ridden area. 
Herrera said, "The hostages were tasked to loot houses, establishments [for] ammunition, firearms, cash, [and] gold.”
Many of the 200,000 inhabitants fled Marawi soon after clashes erupted in the island between the government forces and militants. 
Those who remained trapped in the region are reportedly being used as human shields by the militants.
The city is also facing an acute food shortage and residents had reportedly resorted to eating leaves and cardboard boxes for their survival.
Referring to the Maute Islamists, Herrera said, "This is what is happening inside, this is very evident. These are evil personalities.”
About 71 security forces and 299 militants have been killed so far, even as reports estimated that a total of 246,000 people were displaced in the conflict.
Violence erupted in the city after a failed attempt on May 23 to arrest a Filipino militant commander backed by Islamic State's leadership.
Meanwhile, President Duterte has vowed to destroy the militants in Marawi and said the Philippines was now dealing with "a very dangerous situation" due to young Muslims inspired by the "mass insanity" of Islamic State.
Emerging after a long public absence, reportedly due to being sick, Duterte said his government is determined to rebuild Marawi once the violence subsides. 
Adding, “I know the deployment of snipers and where they hid their firearms. I already had the complete picture and I knew that would be a long fight. What's painful for me, a fractured ideology entered. All that they want is to kill and destroy, how can we live with that?"
Addressing an event where he received hundreds of sniper and assault rifles donated by China to help the military campaign in Marawi, he said, “All they do is just to kill and destroy, and killing in a most brutal way. They enjoy decapitating people in front of cameras. They have to be dealt with, with the same ferocity but not the brutality.”
On Wednesday, the battle entered its 36th day and reports noted that sights of intense gunfights and bombing in the heart of the town were seen and that black-clad fighters were seen from afar running between buildings as explosions rang out.
This month, videos appeared on the website of Islamic State's Amaq news agency and its social media channels showing hostages in Marawi pleading for their lives, saying they would be beheaded if air strikes were not stopped.
Clips have also appeared of kneeling captives, shot in the head from behind.

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