Philippine island under lockdown as army battles militants
|Soldiers patrol a neighbourhood in the Philipine city of Malawi - AFP|
(Vatican Radio) “There’s a great sense of tension” on the Philippine island of Mindanao, according to Seán Patrick Lovett, the head of Vatican Radio’s English Section. In a telephone interview from Davao City, Lovett describes the situation in Mindanao under martial law: “We are under a state of martial law. Martial law means that there is a curfew… the mayor of Davao has put out a warning to foreigners not to go outside, because of fear and abductions and kidnappings; there are military checkpoints at different places around the city.” The city, he said, “is literally in lock down.”
The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, declared martial law in the southern region of Mindanao on Thursday, after militants linked with the so-called Islamic State attacked the city of Marawi, about 250 km northwest of Davao City. The militants burned buildings in Marawi and taken about a dozen hostages, including the rector of the Cathedral and a number of parishioners. As of Friday evening there is no word on the fate of the hostages.