Published: Mon, May 29, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Philippines says militants shot dead at least 16 civilians

"The hands of some of the victims were tied behind their backs, and a lot of them were shot in the head", police officer Jamael Mangadang of a security task force, told reporters.Padilla says 61 militants have been killed together with 13 soldiers and four police officers since Tuesday, when a failed raid to capture one of Asia's top militants triggered an attack on the city.

Ms Clinton has since joined many people on social media to criticise Mr Duterte, who has also carried out a war on drugs that has left thousands of people dead and rights groups say may be a crime against humanity. Authorities said yesterday the fate of those hostages remained unknown.

Adiong said local officials were seeking clearance from the military to send rescue teams to 25 districts where the trapped residents were located.

"Early in the morning, at 8:20, there are civilians, concerned citizens, who said 'can you verify these dead bodies?'".

Malacañang on Sunday brushed off "misguided" criticisms of President Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao.

"The bodies (found) consist of four males, three females and a child", Padilla said, adding the discovery of the eight bodies "validates" reports that militants have indeed killed civilians.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the southern third of the Philippines in response to the clashes, which have claimed at least 48 lives and he has said are part of a campaign by the Islamic State (IS) group to establish a local caliphate.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters that Hapilon's group had received a "couple of million dollars:" from Islamic State. "They want to leave".

The crisis in Marawi, home to some 200,000 people, has grown increasingly desperate as the Maute rebel group show unexpected strength, fending off a military that has unleashed attack helicopters, armoured vehicles and scores of soldiers.

Nevertheless, Duterte also said on Friday that he was prepared to talk with the group's leaders. "But for this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible, just do your job I will take care of the rest", he said.

Galvez said that the amred forces have been constrained to launching airstikes against identified and specific targets occupied by the Maute group militants.

A police official, who had joining foot soldiers in the battle zone moving from one house to another in search of Maute remnants, was caught by surprise when their group was able to encounter a 10-year-old Maute member holding a rifle.

As troops intensified their assaults, Galvez apologized to Muslim residents over the disruption during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. However, local authorities have criticized the military's operations in residential areas of the city.

In a sign that the long-standing problem of militancy in the south could be expanding, Solicitor General Jose Calida said foreigners, including Indonesians and Malaysians, were fighting alongside the gunmen in Marawi.

Jokingly, the then-Davao mayor said he "should have been the first" in line to rape the "beautiful" missionary.

Hapilon is one of the most senior commanders of the Abu Sayyaf, which is notorious for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.

The United States has offered a US$5 million (S$6.9 million) reward for his capture.

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