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Mindanao

Philippines’ Duterte offers Muslim self-rule to counter IS

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte offered self-rule to the Philippines' Muslim minority in an attempt to defeat Islamist militants who seized a southern city in the gravest challenge to his year-old rule. Duterte hopes the promise of autonomy will persuade Filipino Muslims to reject the Islamic State group, whose followers still control parts of Marawi after nearly two months of fighting that had left more than 500 people dead. Duterte vowed to shepherd through Congress a "Bangsamoro Basic Law" bill jointly written and…

Philippine military declares Eid truce in war-torn city

MARAWI: The Philippine military declared an eight-hour ceasefire on Sunday in its offensive against militants occupying parts of the war-torn city of Marawi, to allow residents to celebrate the end of Ramazan. Military chief General Eduardo Ano said his forces would implement a "humanitarian pause" during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Marawi, the most important Muslim city in the mainly Catholic Philippines. "We declare a lull in our current operations in the city on that day as a manifestation of our high respect to the…

US joins battle as Philippines takes losses in besieged city

MARAWI CITY, PHILIPPINES: U.S. special forces have joined the battle to crush Islamist militants holed up in a southern Philippines town, officials said on Saturday, as government forces struggled to make headway and 13 marines were killed in intense urban fighting. The Philippines military said the United States was providing technical assistance to end the siege of Marawi City by fighters allied to Islamic State, which is now in its third week, but it had no boots on the ground. "They are not fighting. They are just…

Duterte declares martial law in southern Philippines

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on Tuesday in the southern region of Mindanao, after deadly clashes between security forces and Islamic State group-linked militants in a major city there. The announcement, made by his spokesman at a press conference in Moscow where Duterte was on an official visit, fulfills an often-repeated warning by the president that he would enforce military rule to quell security threats. "As of 10:00pm Manila time (1400 GMT) Duterte has declared martial law for…