International Alert denounce the terror that has blanketed Marawi City, in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, especially as its citizens prepare to enter the holy month of Ramadan.
The lockdown imposed on the city is unprecedented and we are at one with our friends and colleagues, their family members, and all residents of the Islamic City, Muslim or Christian, in calling for a swift end to the violence.
We stand with the people of Marawi in demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf from the city. Terrorism by any pretext is unacceptable. We call on the police and the military to avoid indiscriminate attacks and the use of bombs that can kill innocent civilians.
Marawi, the economic centre of the province of Lanao del Sur, a vital link in Mindanao’s economy, and host to thousands of students, needs to return to normal life as soon as possible.
Finally, to many of us who watch the events from far away, we ask for vigilance, in seeing to it that the people closest to us are safe, that the information we pass on is truthful, that our statements are not laced with hate and discord, and that we do not incite any further violence.
Watch Francisco Lara from our Philippines team discuss the situation in Marawi City with Australian Broadcasting Coorporation.