Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.
The battle of Marawi! Actual footage!
Posted by Dugong Maharlika on Monday, April 30, 2018
The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.
Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law.
“Marawi’s civilian population has suffered immensely amid one of the Philippine military’s most intensive operations in decades. Displaced en masse when the fighting began in May, thousands of people are now returning to a city that has been utterly destroyed in places, where civilians have been slaughtered by militants, and both sides have committed abuses,” said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.
Amnesty International interviewed 48 survivors and witnesses, and many described how IS-linked militants regularly targeted civilians and carried out extrajudicial killings in Marawi city.
Multiple witnesses described 10 separate incidents where militants killed a total of at least 25 civilians by shooting them or slitting their throats. Most were targeted because they were Christians, and some were killed as they attempted to flee to safety. It is a war crime to murder civilians.
During the morning of 23 May, Adam, in his forties, was in the car park of the Amai Pakpak Medical Hospital when he saw three militants hijack the hospital’s ambulance and execute the driver:
“I saw them stop the ambulance. They asked [the driver] to say the Shahada [an expression of Muslim faith], but the driver was not able to answer so they shot him… Then they came to me and asked me to recite the Shahada [and I did], and they let me live.”
Source: amnesty.org, dugong maharlika