May 23, 2017 Martial law in Mindanao Duterte’s declaration was made at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, while he was still in Moscow on his official trip. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella later explained that the martial law declaration for Mindanao is for 60 days. At 11 p.m. that same day (about an hour after Duterte’s martial law declaration), the AFP announced via AFP Public Affairs Chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo that the situation was under control. “Security forces are in full control of the situation,” Arevalo said. He added, “The news being circulated by these terrorists and their sympathizers are spurious and are meant to spread lies and disinformation. It is propaganda to attract foreign terrorists? support and recognition.” Despite Arevalo’s somewhat optimistic (for lack of a better word) statement, it was quite understandable for Marawi City residents to remain fearful. Marawi City under attack The siege of Marawi City started at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23. “Government forces raided a house in Marawi City where Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon was believed to be hiding,” reports Inquirer.net. The Inquirer indicated that the information was confirmed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief of staff Eduardo A?o, and 1st Infantry Division spokesperson Col. Jo-ar Herrera. The raid became a full blown clash when Hapilon’s forces fought back and called for reinforcements from the Maute Group. The Maute Group is based largely in Lanao del Sur and is led by Abdullah Maute, who is described as the “founder of the Dawlah Islamiya, which means Islamic State of Lanao. As such, the group put up the black banners of terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) in some areas in Marawi City. It’s worth noting, though, that the Maute Group is not officially considered as part of ISIS. The group’s members are, however, sympathizers of ISIS. First-person accounts on social media With members of the Maute Group out and about in Marawi City, residents retreated into their homes. Many of these citizens, though, posted photos of the siege on Twitter. Here are some of the disturbing images.
New pictures of the raised Islamic State flags inside Marawi city are coming in. pic.twitter.com/cZ7IueYCoS— Kokomokodoko (@kokomokodoko) May 24, 2017
ISIS members on the streets of Marawi City. They have blocked some entry/exit points. Photos not mine but from friends on site. pic.twitter.com/Ph5QTYB8PS— SSM-U (@attysamina) May 23, 2017