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ICC Note:

The Maute Group invaded Marawi City in the Philippines on May 23rd. Into the fourth week of fighting, the city is a war zone, and Christians are the targets. However, there have been flashes of hope as civilians and police officers rise as heroes. There are reports of Muslims protecting their Christian neighbors from the terrorists and lending them their hijabs to pass as Muslims. Police officers have voluntarily stayed inside the city to extract those still trapped. Muslims women have stayed in the evacuation center to attend to those affected by the clashes, delievering life-saving aid to an estimated 220,000 civilians.

06/16/2017 The Philippines (Philstar Global) – Days ahead of Ramadan, Lanao del Sur’s capital, Marawi City, was besieged by the ISIS-inspired Maute group. But in the face of terror and death, it is the heroism exhibited even by those most vulnerable that tells most about the human spirit.

Reports say that Marawi residents were held captive, a number of establishments burned, Christians hunted down, and air strikes launched since May 23.

As of Wednesday, there have been 26 civilians and 58 security personnel killed. Thousands were evacuated and rescued as the urban combat continues to retake each part of the city from the Maute’s clutches.

Unrecognized civilians, police officers, soldiers and volunteers serve as the face of good amid countless atrocities.

Here are some of the most moving accounts shared by survivors and witnesses in Marawi City.

Patriotism till death

Private First Class Dhan Ryan Bayot, who found himself in proximity to terrorists, asked his commanding officer to launch an air strike to where he was. He was among the 13 government forces who have died after recovering millions of cash and checks in a house in Marawi.

The 13 fatalities were given a noontime salute along with the 45 other cops and soldiers. Their names were flashed in a tribute video aired in local channels during on Philippine Independence Day.

Tireless

An account by journalist Ana Santos proved how soldiers could forget themselves in the conduct of their duties. In a Facebook post of a dispatch from Marawi, Santos shared her conversation with a soldier.

She said a soldier recognized how days-long stay in Marawi close to the battle may render her exhausted. But she told him, how could she be more tired than a soldier whose life was constantly on the line? His answer was not something she expected. “Ah, hindi po kami napapagod, ma’am. Para po ito sa bayan.”

Suicide squad

Some residents of Mindanao are risking their lives and limbs to extract individuals from the area. They came to be known as “Suicide Squad.”

Transcending faiths

Sharing similar threats, Christians and Muslims look to each other for survival. Civilian refugees testified that they were shouting “Allahu Akhbar” so that the terrorists would not touch them, according to a report by ABC. While some were still shot by terrorists, they succeeded in saving others by doing so.

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