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ICC Note: Philippine president refused to negotiate with IS-inspired rebels when they offered to return priest Soganub and other hostages in exchange of safe retreat. The hostages are still alive though the fighting has been intense. Around 50 fighters are still battling military in a shrinking pocket in Marawi. The conflict that started in Marawi seems to have stretched out the problem of terrorism even further than the authorities have anticipated.

09/11/2017 Philippines (UCA News) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected an offer by IS-inspired rebels to release Marawi prelature vicar-general Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub and other hostages in exchange for safe passage out of the southern Philippine city.

Duterte told journalists on Sept. 9 that his peace adviser Jesus Dureza had asked a former mayor to talk with leaders of the rebels.

The president, however, took the advice of armed forces officials, who have lost more than 100 soldiers in more than three months of fighting.

Military officials said militants have kept the hostages alive throughout the heavy aerial bombardment and intense fighting.

Around 50 fighters are still battling the military in a shrinking pocket in Marawi 112 days after fighting first broke out.

Government plans to normalize life in the war torn city suffered a setback last week, when stray bullets killed a government official and wounded another near the state university, which had resumed classes recently.

Duterte admitted over the weekend that he expects the southern island to remain a flash point of conflict and terrorism.

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