Government security forces face off with Maute Group in Marawi City, in an attempt to issue warrant of arrest for Abu Sayyaf leader.
Updated, 08:19 p.m. Originally posted at 08:00 P.M. of 23 May 2017.
Members of the Maute Group, affiliated with the ISIS global terror group, have swarmed Marawi City following their seizure of several government installations—including a government hospital, a state university, and a government-controlled bank.
Sources attest that the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been conducting joint law enforcement operations with the Philippine National Police, and have been anticipating a Maute Group-mounted attack. This was in response to reports that Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his sons were with members of the Maute group in the area.
An initial statement from the AFP confirmed that government security forces initiated the operations. The Maute Group’s attack on Marawi City has been speculated to forestall the issuance of a warrant for Hapilon’s arrest; they swarmed the city streets and conducted simultaneous attacks.
As operations are still ongoing, there remains conflicting reports from citizens on the ground and responding media. The AFP has cautioned against the spreading of misinformation.
Initial reports say that at least one soldier was injured from the initial firefight with the Maute members, which began around 2:30 p.m. of 23 May 2017, when heavily armed men attacked the Amai Pakpak Medical Center. Other accounts cite that the clash erupted in the Mindanao State University Compound in Marawi City’s Basak Malulut village as the Maute group engaged elements of the Philippine Army’s First Tabak Division. The Maute Group have also hoisted their ISIS flag, replacing the Philippine flag in Barangay Bangun, near an integrated school.
Sources on the ground attest that entry to Marawi has been restricted.
Photos circulating in social media from citizens on-site show alleged ISIS members swarming and patrolling the streets of Marawi, and blocking entry and exit points.
This report will be updated as more information comes to us.
My cousin saw this from their home; allegedly the Marawi City jail. All detainees were freed by ISIS. pic.twitter.com/2rtmBq67qj
— SSM-U (@attysamina) May 23, 2017
Some houses being set on fire by ISIS. People don’t know where to go. They are stuck in Marawi. ISIS not letting them leave the area. pic.twitter.com/g4NkTauYrS
— Alia (@KhadijaBintAli_) May 23, 2017
— sab is in pain (@viciousqrande) May 23, 2017
— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) May 23, 2017
This report will be continuously updated as more information comes to us.