Philippines: Militants forced kids, hostages to fight, army says

Peace and Freedom

AFP

© PHILIPPINE MILITARY/AFP | Pro-Islamic State gunmen have waged a seven-week battle for the Philippine city of Marawi, considered the Muslim capital of the largely Catholic Philippines

MANILA (AFP) – Children and hostages are being forced to fight alongside pro-Islamic State gunmen waging a seven-week battle for a Philippine city, the country’s military said Monday.

Militants seized Marawi, considered the Muslim capital of the largely Catholic Philippines, on May 23 in a bid to create an IS province, and over 100 remain holed up in the city despite intense military efforts to oust them.

Some of the extremists are teenagers who may have been recruited and trained to use guns when they were still children, said Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, a military spokesman.

“We continuously get disturbing narratives from (escaped residents) that children as well as hostages are being employed in the firefight,” Padilla told reporters in Manila.

Casualties among children…

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