Thousands flee from fighting in southern Philippines city Marawi

World Today

Thousands flee from fighting in southern Philippines city MarawiMany have gone to their relatives in Iligan City and to nearby towns, but there are also a lot of families who have nowhere else to go but to evacuation centers.

The Philippine military launches bombing raids to retake Marawi city. Dozens have been killed in a five-day battle with an ISIL-linked group.

While thousands fled for safety to military encampments, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law. CGTN’s Barnaby Lo brings us more on the offensive.

Thousands flee from fighting in southern Philippines city Marawi

The Philippine military launches bombing raids to retake Marawi city. Dozens have been killed in a five-day battle with an ISIL-linked group. While thousands fled for safety to military encampments. President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law. CGTN's Barnaby Lo brings us more on the offensive.

As Muslims all over the world marked the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, Marawi City in the Southern Philippines marked a fifth day of violence as the military continued an offensive to drive out militants who’ve pledged allegiance to ISIL.

The death toll is rising on both sides, and it appears, on the civilian population as well. One of the first civilian casualties was Mary Ann Balignot’s partner Alan Descallar. He worked as an ambulance driver at the provincial capital in Marawi.

“I was told terrorists asked him to get off the vehicle he was driving. They told him to run, and then they shot him and took the ambulance,” said Mary Ann. She adds that Alan didn’t think he was risking his life working in Marawi, but she did. He gave her and her two young children the best life possible.

A least nine other civilians were killed by militants who still control parts of Marawi, but as the battle rages on, there could be more. Thousands continue to flee to avoid such a fate.

For days, there had been no end to people fleeing Marawi for safety. Many have gone to their relatives in Iligan City and to nearby towns, but there are also a lot of families who have nowhere else to go but to evacuation centers like this.

And even though Tarhata Mustari had just given birth and didn’t know anyone outside Marawi, she felt she had no choice but to leave with her family. “The journey was so long and arduous that I got sick. Good thing there’s medicine here. I just wish all of this can be over soon,” said Tarhata.

She fears she may have to raise her children as refugees if the fighting doesn’t end.