Defense officials confirmed that ten soldiers were killed and eight others wounded by a government air strike in the embattled city of Marawi on Wednesday, May 31. The soldiers were accidently hit while fighting Islamic State (IS) affiliated militants in the city.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law throughout the island of Mindanao, where Marawi is located, on May 23 for 60 days due to the siege. On May 28, he threatened to bypass the Constitutional Court and impose martial law throughout the whole country.
Checkpoints at all entry and exit points of Marawi City remain in place and military units have been deployed around Mindanao (including the city of Davao) out of fears of retaliatory attacks.
The official death toll from over a week of fighting in Marawi between the military and IS affiliated militants has neared 100, including 60 militants. An estimated 100 militants entered Marawi on May 23, following a botched raid carried out by security forces on a hideout of the commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon is wanted by the United States for carrying out terrorist attacks targeting US citizens in the Philippines. 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 the Philippines’ southwestern Mindanao island (especially in Zamboanga province) and in the Sulu Archipelago (Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Basilan provinces).
Individuals present in the region are advised to remain vigilant, to monitor the situation, and to obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.
On a related note, most Western government advised against nonessential travel to the eastern Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, to Central Sulawesi province (especially Palu, Poso, and Tentena), and to Maluku province (especially Ambon), due to potential for violent conflict.