Marawi residents told to stay indoors, drop to ground in case of gunfire
COTABATO CITY — Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. urged residents to stay home, especially at night, now that the military and police have not finished flushing out the Abu Sayyaf and Maute Group attackers from Marawi City.
“I’m appealing to residents of Marawi City to stay home, drop on the ground if they hear gunshots. They have to lock their doors and gates too,” Adiong said as early as 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when the fighting was raging.
Amir Sumalih, a resident near the Amai PakPak Medical Center, said in a phone interview that armed masked men wearing khaki fatigue uniforms similar to ISIS, were patrolling the streets.
“Some of them were knocking at our doors, some tried to get in but we locked our gates and doors,” he said, adding “I used to see this only on TV, now they are right in front of us.”
“It is like the Zamboanga City siege,” he said. “They don’t shoot civilians, they were yelling using a megaphone urging us to join ISIS and jihad,” Sumalih said.
He said cellphone signal has been intermittent, and the city has been experiencing light to moderate rains.
Retired Col. Tatar Boriongan, officer of the Lanao Del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the clashes erupted around 2 P.M. at the lower portion of the Mindanao State University compound known as the Basak Malulut village.
“Civilians now are in panic, tension remains high. We have advised our people here to stay home since the situation remains unpredictable,” Boriongan said.
Boriongan said PDRRMO personnel tasked to bring aid to civilian casualties could not get out of their offices due to the presence of armed men clad in ISIS-type uniform.
Boriongan said the Maute Group members called on everyone to join them in jihad. “We can see them at corners, inside and outside the compound of government and private buildings, they put roadblocks,” he said.
Sumilah said a Maute Group member put up an ISIS flag atop a police car which was abandoned when the street shooting broke out.
Another cargo truck was used as blockade in a road leading to Masjid Abubakar Markaz (grand Mosque) where most of the terrorist group members have been holding out.
“It’s really scary although they don’t hurt civilians. Some people are standing at the roadside viewing what the Maute group members are doing in the street center,” he said. SFM
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