President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has declared martial rule in south Philippines for a period of 60 days. Duterte took the decision on Tuesday and cut short a visit to Moscow. This happened after Muslim extremists allied with the Islamic State group laid siege the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines.
As per the latest report published in Independent, a catholic priest and churchgoers have been taken hostage by militants linked to ISIS, in an attempt to seize control over the city.
Gunmen made their way into a cathedral in Marawi city and seized the Reverend Chito Suganob. According to Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, threats have been issued by the gunmen to kill the hostages “if government forces unleashed against them are not recalled”.
Presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella, held a news conference in Moscow and contended that martial rule took effect Tuesday evening in the southern region of Mindanao “on the grounds of existence of rebellion”. The clashes between government troops and Islamist militants left three people dead. It has been reported that two soldiers and a police officer were killed.
Mindanao, which makes up almost one third of the country, would be under martial law for 60 days, revealed the spokesperson.
He said, imposing the law would “suppress lawless violence and rebellion and for public safety”. Duterte returned to Manila, according to Philippine foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
Martial law is a temporary rule by military authorities during a time of emergency when the civil authorities are deemed unable to function.