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ICC Note:

In the Philippines, the fighting persists between the Filipino government troops and the Maute Group and their allies. Now into the fourth week of fighting, there has been countless civilians hiding out in the city of Marawi and the surrounding cities. This week, it has been reported that Muslim cops have been shielding those Christians trapped inside the war zone. Just yesterday, policemen saved the lives of five, Christian construction workers by leading them out of the city, while protecting them from the shots fired at them by the Maute group.

06/14/2017 The Philippines (Benar News) – Muslim policemen said they protected Christian civilians in the southern Philippine city of Marawi from marauding militants linked to the Islamic State as battles between the gunmen and government forces spilled into a fourth week on Tuesday.

The five police officers told reporters they felt compelled to protect the Christians in the village of Monkado Kadilingan as militants with the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute gang, who were backed by foreign fighters, searched every house and demanded to see “non-believers.” The officers and civilians had been trapped in the city for nearly three weeks since the fighting erupted, but they got out and were able to reach the safety of a military-controlled sector.

“We had a chance to escape because we were Muslims, but, as cops, it was our duty to protect the people. We decided to stay because the gunmen would execute the civilians,” officer Lumlan Lidasan said Tuesday. “Three of us had long firearms, so the Maute could not just penetrate the house where we were hiding.”

Lidasan said he and his colleagues were manning an outpost on May 23, when the violence broke out and people panicked. The village chief hid them along with five Christian construction workers in a basement where they survived on dwindling food rations as bombs dropped by government airplanes exploded outside.

The men were in touch with army officers but they were pinned down because Maute and Abu Sayyaf fighters were shooting in their direction. On Monday, they were told that an airstrike was expected to target their area, so they decided to leave.

“The Maute gunmen were shooting at as we ran toward the next building, where we spent the night. My colleague and another civilian were injured,” he added.

At the break of dawn Tuesday, they said they left their hiding place in the building and started walking toward a bridge connecting the rebel-held Bonggolo district to an area considered safe.

One of the civilians, Jenever Velasquez, 26, said they were thankful to the policemen for protecting them. ”If not for them, we would all be dead by now,” she sobbed.

Authorities said more than 70 policemen were believed to be missing throughout Marawi, but they were mostly Muslim and likely still alive and in hiding.


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