One month since fighting began in Philippines

Concerns are growing in the Philippines that fighting between government forces and Islamist militants in the country's south could be prolonged.

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Friday marks one month since fighting broke out in Marawi City on Mindanao Island on May 23rd. The local extremists claim allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has put Mindanao and surrounding areas under martial law, citing the threat of the Islamic State group.

But the militants are putting up fierce resistance against security forces and have occupied residential areas.

The militants have been joined by fighters flowing in from Indonesia and other neighboring countries as well as Middle Eastern nations including Saudi Arabia.
The Philippine military says the fighting has left 360 people dead, including 26 civilians. It says more than 200,000 people have fled to neighboring towns.

The toll could grow as hundreds of civilians are reportedly still in the occupied areas.

The imposition of martial law has drawn criticism from human rights groups and opposition lawmakers. In the country’s past, martial law was used to crack down on opposition as it allows detention without a warrant.

Source and image: NHK
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