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ISIS-linked militants who attacked a city in the southern Philippines Tuesday burned a cathedral and abducted a parish priest and at least 10 other civilians.
Members of the Maute group kidnapped Father Teresito Suganob, the parish’s secretary, two working students, and other parishioners from the Cathedral of Our Lady Help in the city of Marawi, local ABS-CBN News reported, quoting Bishop Edwin dela Pena, the Catholic prelature in the city.
"They negotiated with me for me to appeal to the military not to pursue them and to declare a cease-fire," dela Pena added in an interview on radio DZMM.
"They have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled," Archbishop Socrates Villegas, head of the Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), was quoted by ABS-CBN as saying.
The archbishop appealed for prayers for the hostages’ safety and slammed the kidnapping, noting that the victims are unarmed non-combatants.
Villegas called on government forces to prioritize the hostages’ safety while ensuring the law is upheld.
Aside from the church, the terror group reportedly burned the city jail and two schools.
President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday declared martial law on the island of Mindanao following the eruption of clashes between the military and the Maute group.
2017.05.24 / 12:36