Isnilon Hapilon, who is reportedly the Islamic State leader in Southeast Asia, fighters from the Maute group attacked the city of Marawi. Residents were urged to stay indoors as violence broke out between the militants and security forces. As of Saturday, the city remains under rebel control.
Duterte has declared martial law—the suspension of ordinary law and
implementation of military rule, for the entire island of Mindanao—and
suspended habeas corpus there, giving authorities the right to detain
prisoners without trial. The second largest island in the Philippines,
it is home to a number of militant groups, including Abu Sayyaf and MILF
(Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said: “This is possible on the grounds of existence of rebellion because of what is happening in Mindanao.”
Martial law can last up to 60 days, and Duterte has long promised
to impose it in Mindanao, which is known for its militancy and
associations with Islamism. The Philippines is a Christian majority
country, but since 2016, there have been concerns that the southern
Philippines could become a de facto “wilayat or Islamic State province.