On Sunday, June 25, fighting between Islamic State (IS)-affiliated militants and government forces resumed in Marawi City, currently under siege, at approximately 14:00 (local time). Fighting had briefly been suspended thanks to a short-term truce that began at 06:00 earlier in the day. The truce was implemented in a bid to allow residents of the war-torn city to celebrate Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) and was only due to remain in effect for eight hours.
A major armed conflict has been ongoing in Marawi City (Mindanao island) since May 23, following a botched government raid on a hideout sheltering Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group. The Philippine government is battling different militant Islamist groups that are laying siege to the city, including IS-affiliated Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Abu Sayyaf militant group, and the Maute group. The conflict is part of a wider decades-old insurgency in the marginalized Muslim-majority areas of the Philippines.
Hapilon is wanted by the United States for carrying out terrorist attacks targeting US citizens. He is also suspected of attempting to unite Philippine militant groups that have pledged allegiance to IS. Abu Sayyaf is known for kidnapping people for ransom in southwest Mindanao (especially in Zamboanga province) and in the Sulu Archipelago (Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Basilan provinces). Sailors and foreigners are regularly abducted in the Sulu Sea.
Individuals in Marawi City are advised to remain indoors, to monitor the situation, and to obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.
As a reminder, most Western governments formally advise against all travel to southwest Mindanao and to the Sulu Archipelago due to terrorist activity, regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups, and the risk of kidnapping by Abu Sayyaf.
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