Militants take Catholic hostages in Philippines

MNA International Desk: Islamist militants who triggered martial law in the southern Philippines when they rampaged through a city are threatening to kill a priest and other hostages, the Catholic Church said on Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law across the southern region of Mindanao on Tuesday after the militants, who have declared allegiance to the Islamic State group, battled with security forces and burnt buildings.

Duterte warned the martial law would be ‘harsh’ and like a dictatorship in an effort to quell not just the gunmen in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people, but the rising threat of IS-inspired militancy emanating from Mindanao.

The gunmen raided a church in Marawi and took the local priest, Father Chito Suganob, plus an unspecified number of other people hostage, according to the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

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