Duterte interrupted an official visit to Moscow
The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte interrupted an official visit to Moscow after between Philippine government forces and Islamist militants on Tuesday in the southern city of Marawi there was a deadly collision.
The Agency Amaq, issued a statement, declaring that "the militants of ISIS begin a major offensive against the Philippine troops in the city of Marawi". Speaking in Moscow, foreign Minister of the Philippines Alan Peter Cayetano said that the violence in Maguindanao, one of the most southern Islands of the Philippines, it was a priority for Duterte, despite the high-profile visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"The Russians understand that the safety of Filipinos, particularly in Marawi and the Mindanao is a priority," said Cayetano. "They understand that the presence of the President of the Philippines is important, but I remain on the sidelines. Agreements will be signed".
The violence prompted Duterte to declare martial law in all areas like Marawi city and the wider island of Mindanao, part of which is Marawi. Clashes between government troops and a group of "Mouth", the Islamist martial organization based in Mindanao, began in Marawi, a city with a population of over 200 thousand people around 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
Press Secretary of President Ernesto Abella confirmed that the fighters seized several government buildings in the city and burned the Church, the school and the city jail. Mindanao is home to a large Muslim population, unlike the vast majority of Catholics in the country.
It is reported that the militants seized medical center and replaced the flag of Philippines black banner in the style of ISIS.
Martial law will operate in the southern Philippines within 60 days "to suppress lawless violence and rebellion, and for public safety," said Abella, reports PNA.